I have been covering the pioneers of hardcore tattoo, body modification, and BDSM for several years now. I’ve had my balls inflated, introduced the brutal black project to people outside of the blackwork community, and was warmly welcomed to observe one of the most extreme and intimate pain rituals. Although at times these spheres of pain may overlap, they have always maintained their distinctiveness. Until now.
Feris Tergo, a project in three acts, exist to show the art of what is possible beyond the limits of pain. By bringing together some of the world’s leading practitioners of body modification and blackwork tattoo, 22-year-old German born dominatrix, Miss Sophia, orchestrates unrelenting tours of torture intended to violate the body’s integrity and leave indelible physical and psychological marks.
The first act saw a tongue and nipples tattooed, pierced, clamped, a face gagged and suffocated, a body beaten. Their second saw a body, naked and supine, its skin whipped, slapped, scratched, incised and tattooed, its flesh pierced, skewered and clamped, its neck collared. Via affixed flesh hooks, the beaten, bloodied body was suspended high enough to see toes float and curl in agony—or ecstasy perhaps—before rope was purposely snipped and it slumped violently on the remaining hooks, leaving one to marvel at the elasticity of human skin and take pause to reacquaint face with jaw.
For some, pleasure is the absence of pain; for Feris Tergo, more pain—more pleasure, something their third act intends to vehemently observe.
With the brutal chaos of blackwork tattooist, 3Kreuze, and meticulous manipulation of pioneering body modifier, Yann Brenyak, the sessions are designed to explore the murky and macabre space between what unites tattoo, body modification, and BDSM. We catch up with Miss Sophia, 3Kreuze, and their second client, 26-year-old French national, Jo, to gain a deeper understanding about Feris Tergo’s breath-taking visual and physical force, what would drive someone to want to go through such an ordeal, and what’s in store for the third and final act.
Miss Sophia (Feris Tergo Dominatrix @feristergo):
So, what is Feris Tergo? Feris Tergo is Latin and means something along the lines of “The most savage”. It’s a BDSM/Blackwork project that my partner 3kreuze and I created. The session is painful, exhausting and without compromise, but also with so much trust and deep connections between all the people involved—we try to make that visible for people. Every session has its own aesthetic, we speak about everything before we start in order to collect ideas and fantasies—it changes from project to project.
Why did you decide to film the sessions? We decided to document it to show people what’s possible how it is to push limits in a safe space.
Can you give us a little bit of background about yourself? I currently live in London where I mostly work as a Model, but BDSM has been part of my life for a couple of years now. I made my passion a job when I was 20, that’s when I became “Miss Sophia”.
For those of us unfamiliar with the accoutrements of torture, what tools does a normal BDSM session employ and how do Feris Tergo sessions differ in that respect? There are endless possibilities when arranging a BDSM Session, so in my opinion there is no “normal” session, but usually the slave leaves the session without forever marks. Feris Tergo differs in that respect, because the tattooing part is obviously a reminder for the rest of your life. We are creating art during our sessions.
The project is like a ritual but not just a pain ritual—it’s about trust, connection, and enjoying letting yourself go. Everyone is purely themselves, thinking about nothing other than what is happening in the moment. It’s satisfying to be in the moment, to forget all your problems and just enjoy. It’s not about the pain, it’s about feeling alive and letting yourself go.
Initially, though, the idea behind Feris Tergo was to form a connection between BDSM and tattooing, but for AktII we decided to involve body modification artist, Yann Brenyak, which was the best decision because the suspension made the whole session even more intense.
Right, that’s a lot of hands manipulating flesh. Why did you use a professional tattooist and body modifier instead of just doing it yourself? Tattoo and body modification must be taken seriously, it’s nothing I would do without being a professional. Also, I prefer doing other things during session.
How do you coordinate between yourselves? We are working together to make the session as intense as possible. I decide a lot of things during the session, but the best thing is to create something out of the ideas of everyone involved, getting creative together is important to get to know each other better, otherwise I would never know their fantasies and it wouldn’t be that satisfying.
Tell us about the acts.
AKTI: This was the first time we tried out working together and we weren’t really sure how to arrange everything, so it was kind of chaotic, there was no real structure even if it was working out well in the end. We learned that speaking about everything is the key. We had a lot of fun while doing it, it was exciting and new and we had just people around we knew already before the session.
AKTII: This was very well organised. We hadn’t met Flavia until the day before the session, but it felt just right, it was a good vibe between all of us. It was still very exciting. Although the suspension was new there was already something like a routine and we felt safer in what we were doing.
What’s going through your mind as you’re inflicting pain on your subjects in these videos? I enjoy seeing people suffer, it’s my pleasure to see their pain.
What do you say to people watching that might think, these folks are fucked? I understand that our sessions are not for everybody and that it’s extreme, so it’s okay for me that some people might think we are fucked in the head.
I don’t feel like a freak or special in a way anyone else isn’t. I have a pretty “normal” life in general. I’m in a monogamous relationship, I like cooking, clothes, make-up and Sunday walks in the park, everything other people consider “normal”.
3Kreuze (blackwork tattooist @3Kreuze):
So, 3Kreuze, what would you say to people who watch this and think you’re all just fucked in the head? I think they are right.
Haha, okay, so why did you and Miss Sophia want to create Feris Tergo? As a couple, Miss Sophia and I always had this idea about combining both our work to create something in between, especially something we’ve never seen or done before. So, we came up with this Project. It’s not for the masses and its better if this videos and images are visible for a few people with an interest in it and a different understanding about experimenting and exploring bodies—even if it’s such a rough way. The whole BDSM thing was quite new for me, I met Miss Sophia in a totally different way and after we became a couple, she told me about her job as a dominatrix. So yeah, I wanted to see her in Action.
It is extremely rough, indeed. What is going through your mind as you’re tattooing someone in this sort of chaotic environment? It’s weird, I mean I saw a lot of crazy shit in the last few years, especially in the tattoo and body mod scene, but this was mental! After the first Feris Tergo Akt, I didn’t want to talk about what happened for a week because it was crazy to watch my partner with this joy in her face and zero empathy for the person who was getting fucked up. I’m always more patient with tattooing and I always take care that the client can easily handle all the pain. But then you see your partner, crossing borders more and more knowing that this is what the client wants.
You participated in Brutal Black sessions—how does this differ? You can’t compare this. Brutal Black sessions are about tattooing, a craftsman using their tattoo machines to push ink into the canvas of an innocent client. Feris Tergo is absolutely more physical punishment. Pain comes in much more waves, faster, harder, destructive from one second to another. You can’t prepare your body for the next few hours of pain. And the biggest difference are the clients who get into it. People who enjoy pain and physical punishment. Not in a sexual way but for them its more than a passion.
Tell me about the power dynamic and your role during these visceral sessions. In these sessions I have the freedom to do what I want but I just play a small part—I just tattoo. So, basically, if Miss Sophia plans to do something I need to stop, or if it works and we can both work on the client we will do it. But, basically, I always take a look what she is doing first.
Why do you think people want to go through such intense physical trauma? Victory above their own bodies and minds. This is what I saw and felt during the sessions, they don't want to tap out or give up or give you a safe word to stop. So, at the end they want to win and survive this session.
What’s in the works for the next Akt? For now, we have some rough ideas about the 3rd Akt, but for now it’s nothing concrete—but it will be much heavier than the other ones, that’s for sure!
Jo Lastreg AKA Flavia Raus (participant from Act II, @jolastreg):
Tell us about yourself. All day I focus on three things: food, my job and photography. I am an artist—a photographer (but I graduated in archaeology). It's been ten years that I'm interested in tattoo art, piercings and suspension—when I was younger, I would change the way I looked thanks to Photoshop, but now the changes are happening in real life. I am truly interested in everything related to the human body and its transformations.
Why did you decide to have a Feris Tergo session? I am into the tattoo world for real, more than trash, and I have a thing for the BDSM community. The Feris Tergo project combines several disciplines I love, and it makes me feel alive. I get very excited. Since I adore 3Kreuze’s work I sent him a message right after Akt1 asking whether he was looking for a new victim. I was not expecting a positive answer at all; I was honoured and suddenly crazy about this project.
What were you expecting to experience, and did it meet your expectations? I had no particular expectations but the urge to live it a hundred percent. In a few words—considering the endorphin rush that I felt during the performance—then yes, the experience was satisfying as hell.
How long was the session, did you do anything special to prepare? I did nothing special. I just ate healthy and slept enough, spent my day chilling before the long-awaited hour with all the protagonists. Maybe two hours. I can’t be clear about that. It seemed fast but enough, I felt nauseous at the end. We stopped just in time. The suspension, especially on the chest, was quite harsh and violent but super nice at the same time.
Yeah, it looked very intense. Can you walk us through the whole physical experience? Indeed, when Miss Sophia cut the front, I was extremely surprised, in fact, I did not expect this at all, but it was something I wanted to experience (cut ties to fall back for an extra discharge of endorphins).
When we started, just during the few minutes and seconds before, I asked myself "why did I make this decision?!", then this doubt vanishes instantly—it is the adrenaline. All along, I am rather in a daze, a kind of dissociation where I swallow everything that happens around me. It may be considered as a meditation maybe. I focus my mind on the feelings during the session.
I like suspension, it reminds me that our body is stronger than we think. I am fascinated by the fact that this physical body of skin just 5mm large is able to carry the weight of my being. Sensations fuse in all directions at the time during the session, some are more intense than others; some remind me some memories, events in my past. I want to explore new places in my body to create new sensory memories. The mind disperses at first to finally create a new kind of global unity. It's very difficult to explain exactly how I felt about the phenomenon especially after a few weeks where my body keeps on feeling.
And the psychological sensations—how did you navigate that? In these moments there is, in my opinion, a connection between the "me-skin", the physical self, and the "psychic or spiritual self". It is the ultimate goal of the performance, and more specifically during suspension the pain echoed memories both more and less painful. Then, I was in tears—between happiness and sadness concerning these memories—that's where I really understood the reason why I was doing it: to feel whole—connected to my self-skin.
What would you want viewers to keep in mind? I do not feel anything special about the ones who casually watch this type of video. It is complicated to report the reality of such an experience through such a short video. But I would like them to remember this desire to feel free to be for real, to exist, through the intense and primitive need to live.