Alexis D was the first to present shibari in Greece during 2008. He has performed in various venues across europe (Torture Garden, The London Festival of the Art of the Japanese Bondage, Tribe). His style is traditional japanese bondage with s/m elements. Alexis is also a co-founding member of Athens Shibari – House of Ropes.
So Alexis can you tell us how your relationship with bondage did start?
It started long time ago, since I was a teenager. I was impressed by watching b-movies, where movie starlets were tied up. Later, few s/m comics came to my attention and much later traditional Japanese bondage illustrated in magazines was an outbreak of my fetish excitement.
Can you describe us your bondage style? Is it a part of a certain tradition or are you combining different elements?
It is the traditional Japanese rope bondage, known as Shibari, elaborated in the Kinbaku level, where strong mental affiliation and emotional connection between rigger (kinbakushi) and rope bottom takes place. The rigger lusts for beautiful and sadistic rope bondage, while the bottom totally surrenders in a “subspace”, ready to suffer and take satisfaction from the tight ropes. Bondage can take place either on the floor either in the air. In this traditional ritual, I retain my own style with major Japanese techniques as backbone, but with many personal patterns and forms as differentiation.
As far as I know you have tried also the western bondage style besides shibari. What have you learned from it?
Western bondage style is a totally different rope technique, mostly for fascinating or sexual reasons. Actually Westerners can learn from the Japanese, not Japanese from Westerners. Main difference of the western type of rope bondage is that it cares only for the final result, which either will look very stylish or fancy either will serve as a mean to complete sexual purposes. Japanese rope bondage mainly targets to the act of Shibari as ritual. Photos that might occur portray this ritual while sex is not principally part of that.
What makes a good rigger?
There are many things that outline a good rigger. The most important ability is to build trust with his rope bottom. Elaborate shibari techniques require difficult positions and sometimes dangerous transitions in the air. Safety is the first and the last rule. I don’t really care about riggers who try to impress or show off while safety comes second. Exaggeration at the expense of safety is unacceptable. Creativity is also a plus for a rigger. I’m so bored of “shibari schools” that frame the artist in strict rules and expected patterns.
Due to your experience as shibari instructor what are the common mistakes that people do most?
Regarding riggers, as said before, the most common mistake is when they don’t respect the safety standards. Regarding rope bottoms, the most common mistake is when they don’t communicate with the rigger, trying to be “tough” and tolerate dangerous rope bondage work.
As a sadist which is your way to connect pain with rope culture?
Shibari and Kinbaku contain sadomasochism. Actually, there is no need for extra pain by using floggers, whips and canes; in traditional Japanese rope bondage the rope bottom is totally restricted. Ropes can be used in a way that will cause pain and suffering. One common group of techniques is the predicament rope bondage. That means you tie up the rope bottom in a difficult position that she cannot move and every movement will cause extra pain. One extra step is that you leave one part of the body under limited movement and this part of the body is connected with another part of the body. When she tries to move more the limited part of the body, the other part of the body will suffer a lot. In this way she has to choose which part of the body will suffer and –in a kinky way- you transfer the responsibility for suffering to her.
Can you mention us some riggers that you admire?
There are many kinbakushi around the world who have their own unique style. Some of them inspire many young riggers. Two of them have influenced the Westerners in the most notable way; Osada Steve and Naka Akira. Their technique created two major streams in Europe. Many many others preserve their own style. I can mention Denki Akechi, Kazami Ranki, Kasumi Hourai, Ren Yagami and of course Arisue Go, who was my rope teacher in Brussels long time ago.
Which other ways of dominance you love except rope bondage?
Mainly I’m into rope bondage but I also love male domination and fetishism. Many BDSM and pain techniques are my love; spanking, whipping, flogging, and paddling, electroplay, mummification, outdoor humiliation, knife play, suffocation, etc. My BDSM School was insex.com where you could see every day women tortured in live streaming and members could propose a punishment by texting in a real time (the website closed in 2005 due to G. W. Bush administration and reactions from Christian fanatics). But my best is when I whisper in rope bottom’s ear while she’s tied up. I can blind her with a rope or a cloth and let the imagination goes.
Let me clarify at this point that for many people rope bondage does not necessarily mean s/m and many of them do rope for fun or consider shibari just a kind of art, a technical show or a well-skilled performance.
What are your criteria for a talented rope bottom?
Good communication with the rigger and good “communication” with the audience. Peace in her soul, good physical condition. Flexibility is a plus but not a must. Every human body can be tied up or even suspended in the air. There is no need to say that Shibari is not recommended for intoxicated people or people without clear mind.
Your performances are harsh enough for Greece. Do you think that your art can be more publically appreciated outside Greece?
If you asked me 10 years ago, I would say yes. But now, a part of the Greek audience is well familiar with fetishes and BDSM practices. My performances can be more appreciated abroad in a way that I consider what I’m doing as a pure sadomasochistic art coming out directly from my soul. In Greece still some people come to watch the performances for the flesh of a beautiful girl suffering in ropes, while they should focus on the performance as a strongly interactive ritual between two people based on a tradition of centuries, happening in modern days.
Is it possible to share with us your thoughts about the future of bondage?
Regarding Greece, as you know, in spring 2018 we created Athens Shibari, together with other riggers and good friends. Since its establishment, Athens Shibari honestly happens to be the most important Shibari/kinbaku group in Greece with the greatest influence to the Greek audience. We retain our own rope place, hosting monthly shows and performances in major venues in Athens and a lot of workshops in order to meet new people and transfer the rope “madness”. We have invited many famous riggers and rope models from abroad (i.e. Gestalta Judd, Tamandua Rope, Maya Homerton, Glu Wur, Felix Ruckert, Sophia Rose, Seattle Shibari, Miss Eris) while many of the performances and workshops are sold out. This effort will go on until we are done.
Regarding bondage in general, I don’t see dramatic changes in the near future. Maybe because of the internet, one day shibari can be totally a part of mainstream societies and be acceptable from the vast majority of the people as part of fine arts.
Can you describe us your ideal performance?
Just few words. Try to be yourself. Respect your partner and her limits. Free yourself and her, while restricted in ropes.