“Often, value judgements are immersed in cultural memory, personal history, and the moment in time with which the given institution will function. I’m not a techno-nerd, I’m not even a techno-enthusiast in that sense of the word. Technology comes from the Greek word techne, meaning skill. So technologies are merely the contemporary strategies for determining and evaluating the world and the body that inhabits and interacts with it. It’s not a dilemma for me, but that’s not to say that as artists we’re not concerned with the abuses of those technologies, or we’re not worried about the human and social despair that occurs with the use of military or medical technologies.”
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Stelarc is an Australian artist who has performed extensively in Japan, Europe and the USA- including new music, dance festivals and experimental theatre. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems and the Internet to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He has performed with a THIRD HAND, a VIRTUAL ARM, a VIRTUAL BODY and a STOMACH SCULPTURE. He has acoustically and visually probed the body- having amplified brainwaves, blood-flow and muscle signals and filmed the inside of his lungs, stomach and colon, approximately two metres of internal space. He has done twenty-five body SUSPENSIONS with insertions into the skin, in different positions and varying situations in remote locations.
For FRACTAL FLESH, as part of Telepolis, he developed a touch-screen interfaced Muscle Stimulation System, enabling remote access, actuation and choreography of the body. Performances such as PING BODY and PARASITE probe notions of telematic scaling and the engineering of external, extended and virtual nervous systems for the body using the Internet. In 1998 for Kampnagel, he completed EXOSKELETON- a pneumatically powered 6-legged walking machine actuated by arm gestures. Current projects include the EXTRA EAR- a surgically constructed ear as an additional facial feature that coupled with a modem and a wearable computer will act as an internet antenna, able to hear RealAudio sounds. And MOVATAR is an intelligent avatar that performs in the real world by possessing a physical body. It will have a sound feedback loop from the body giving the virtual entity an ear in the world. In 2000, he completed an EXTENDED ARM- a manipulator with eleven degrees-of-freedom that extends his arm to primate proportions and a MOTION PROSTHESIS- an intelligent, compliant servo-mechanism that enables the performance of precise, repetitive and accelerated prompting or programming of the arms in real-time. In 2002, with the collaboration of the Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems Group, COGs, University of Sussex and TNTU, the HEXAPOD robot prototype was developed.
In 2003 the PROSTHETIC HEAD, an embodied conversational agent that speaks to the person who interrogates it, was completed for New Territories, Glasgow. It was also shown at the ICA in London and Interaccess in Toronto. This was realized with Tissue Culture and Art Project from Perth. The 6-legged MUSCLE MACHINE was constructed with the assistance of The Nottingham Trent University Engineering team, using fluidic rubber muscle actuators. 1/4 scale replicas of the artist’s ear have been grown using mouse and human cells. These were exhibited at Galeria Kapelica in Ljubljana and for the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award at Ian Potter, NGV at Federation Square.
In 1995 Stelarc received a three year Fellowship from The Visual Arts/ Craft Board, The Australia Council. In 1997 he was appointed Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsurgh. He was Artist-In-Residence for Hamburg City in 1998. In 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Laws by Monash University. He completed an artist-in-residence position in Art and Technology, at the Faculty of Art and Design at Ohio State University in Columbus in March, 2003. He is Principal Research Fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit at The Nottingham Trent University. UK. His art is represented by the Sherman Galleries in Sydney.
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Official Website: http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/
Bio & Links: http://www.digibodies.org/online/Stelarc.htm