Stelarc, Cyborg Artist

nym | 02:38 PM

Just found a series of links about an interesting cyborg-artist, who has been working in performance art since the 1970s. BMEZine has an article about his earlier work with suspensions, but I think you'll appreciate his more cyborganic experimentations:

'In these times of health fascism and body image disorder, even the most toned-up can always find something that needs a little more work. But hardly anyone can be prepared to take things as far as the Australian performance artist Stelarc. When he looks in the mirror in the morning, he sees a body that isn't so much out of condition as obsolete, something that doesn't need a weekly workout so much a total workover. "The only was I see is that the body is mass produced but at the moment it doesn't have any replaceable parts. OK, we're making artificial organs. But this is just a medical approach. What we really need is a design approach. If you have a heart that wears out after 70 years, this to me is an engineering problem. We should start to re-engineer the body."' [from Stelarc, Cyberhuman? by [email protected] / I-D Magazine]

And from CTHEORY:


'Stelarc's art, often referred to as cyborg experiments, integrates inorganic matter with his body by renewing the neural activity that maintains equilibrium. By extending his body through heuristic machines, Stelarc redesigns and remaps perception. While his suspension events are worthy of debate, Stelarc's later experiments with multimedia stimuli and the body and ideas concerning artificial intelligence will be the objects of focus. Ping Body an Internet Actuated and Uploaded Performance and ParaSite for Invaded and Involuntary Body are performances that occurred from 1995-98 and his artificial life experiment Movatar an Inverse Motion Capture System is on-going.

The objectification of the body, a theory that informs Stelarc's cyborg experiments, is not actually a modern idea. The body as a machine, is a theory that is tied to the work of the seventeenth century thinker Rene Descartes.[3] In 1637, Descartes published the Discourse on Method . The body is composed of only mechanical functioning, wrote Descartes. The body and mind were distinctly separate for Descartes, who thought the body a machine, to be informed by the higher order rationality of the mind, that was imbued with pneuma (breath of God or soul).[4] Stelarc's body and mind have been hollowed out from this dualistic theory. It does not mean he is an atheist, as if his mind or soul does not exist. Rather, he revitalizes the body with respect to consciousness.' [The Body Without Memory: An Interview with Stelarc by Mark Fernandes]

Selarc's experiments seem similar in many regards to the work of The Psymbiote and Steve Mann. I sure hope Stelarc brings his peformances to Los Angeles!

[Official website, Recent peformances via snfg on del.icio.us/tag/cyborg/]