My Dinner with Stelarc: A Review of Techno-flesh Hybridity in ArtMichael Filas
An interdisciplinary introduction to post-evolutionary performance artist Stelarc and aspects of some human-technology hybrid tropes in which he works: Obsolete Body Suspensions with hooks in the skin; an expanding, beeping, Stomach Sculpture which he ingested and filmed; the “Ping Body” event during which his limbs (arm, leg) were controlled with electric stimulation by an Internet audience, while simultaneously Stelarc controlled a prosthetic robotic “Third Hand” with repurposed muscles in his abdomen and leg; and, a tissue-culture installment under the skin of his forearm—his Third Ear—which is meant to contain a microphone and relay audio to an online audience. The article reviews critical contexts such as cyberpunk literature, biological and data networks, embodiment, scientific practices, electric body manipulation, and aesthetic and interpretive concerns. It closes with an account of the author’s personal encounter with Stelarc at a dinner party, and the role of emotions, such as fear, in post-evolution.
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