GENNE LAAKSO - encumber


encumber's aftermath

This body of work explores the experience of body manipulation through the restriction of movement, the induction of discomfort or pain, and impression of the flesh.  

Each piece is designed to restrict the natural movements of the wearer such as breathing, walking, and mobility of the head and neck. This informs the wearer of the temporary inhibition that body manipulation creates. Each piece requires a second or third person to apply the device alerting the wearer that an act of submission and trust is part of the experience.  

Recognizable found objects are used to remind the wearer that foreign objects are necessary to manipulate the body. Through the mechanical operation of each device, these objects create pain or discomfort for the wearer and simultaneously force the body to the design and structure of each piece. The reception of pain introduces the wearer to the possible extremes an individual is willing to endure to have his or her body transformed.  

The photographs of the pieces worn, provides the viewer with a vivid portrayal of the devices infliction; while the photographs of the impressions allow the viewer access to how the piece imprints into the body. These photographs provide the viewer with the ability to ponder on the experience the wearer undergoes.

Genne Laakso dedicated one of her pieces to NIN new album. Out of hundreds of artists, she and 35 others were chosen for this juried exhibition at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and her piece dedicated to With Teeth was awarded First Place. It will be displayed until Aug 7th.

From the program: This exhibition features jewelry and other objects created by artists who work with gold, metal and other similar materials. The juried exhibition coincides with the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) Conference which is being held in Cleveland from June 22 to June 25. The theme of the conference is the intersection of jewelry, metalwork and enameling with industrial design, the "fine arts" and fashion. Artists were invited to submit works that were influenced by some element of rock music - a lyric, song title, album, artist, style of music, event, etc. The works displayed here were created within the last two years and demonstrate the quality and rich diversity within the feel of metalsmithing.

Nine Inch Nails has been one of the most influential bands in the industrial world. Encumber, physically symbolizes the sounds and energy that has been created by this industrial master: Trent Reznor. This piece has two photographs that accompany it so that the viewer can understand what the piece looks like on the human form and the after effects it has on the skin (temporary impressions from bear teeth). This piece is dedicated to Nine Inch Nails' new album With Teeth.
(Program scans: Inside. Outside.)


The arm band is made from refabricated typewriter keys -- it spells chameleon on the arm. The back piece was made with bullet shells. The other neck piece is seagull bones, and the NIN necklace (encumber) is made with bear teeth, casted in silver.

If you would like to reach Genne, contact her via email at