Stelarc [West Melton Victoria, Australia]
Prosthetic Head, Walking Head and Extra Ear: Fractal, Circulating and Chimeric Flesh
The bodily machine
Stelarc is an Australian performance artist. His work focuses on extending the possibilities of the human body. In fact the basic principle of his ideas is that the body is an obsolete, outdated machine which, in the light of technological development, has had its day. Stelarc therefore seeks alternative anatomical constructions, mechanical aids or even surgical interventions which will help the body to exceed its limitations and thus become more adapted to the needs of our present technological age. He no longer regards the protheses, robots or interventions he designs as aids for a human handicap but rather as an addition and extension of the bodily machine’s capacity.
In his lecture-demonstration, Prosthetic Head, Walking Head and Extra Ear: Fractal, Circulating and Chimeric Flesh, he examines three of his works of art. Prosthetic Head is the ‘embodiment’ of a ‘talking agent’: he addresses passers-by, his lips form the words synchronously, he follows his audience with head movements and is able to express emotions. Walking Head is a pneumatically driven robot with six legs that awaits the spectators in a small gallery and performs a brief choreography when someone stands directly in front of him. Extra Ear: Ear on Arm is a surgical implant attached to Stelarc’s forearm into which a small microphone is fitted. This ear becomes a mobile organ which is accessible to the public, so that listeners are able to hear the sounds the ear itself picks up.