Ear on Arm, Stelarc at the Media Gallery

Exhibition: Stelarc, Media Gallery Concordia University, October -November 2010.

Exhibition programmed by Tagny Duff

A video installation which features documentation of the surgery and implantation of a “third ear” into Stelarc’s arm.

“I have always been intrigued about engineering a soft prosthesis using my own skin, as a permanent modification of the body architecture. The assumption being that if the body was altered it might mean adjusting its awareness. Engineering an alternate anatomical architecture, one that also performs telematically. Certainly what becomes important now is not merely the body’s identity, but its connectivity- not its mobility or location, but its interface. In these projects and performances, a prosthesis is not seen as a sign of lack but rather as a symptom of excess. As technology proliferates and microminiaturizes it becomes biocompatible in both scale and substance and is incorporated as a component of the body. These prosthetic attachments and implants are not simply replacements for a part of the body that has been traumatized or has been amputated. These are prosthetic objects that augment the body’s architecture, engineering extended operational systems of bodies and bits of bodies, spatially separated but electronically connected. Having constructed a Third Hand (actuated by EMG signals) and a Virtual Arm (driven by sensor gloves), there was a desire to engineer an additional ear (that would be speak to the person who came close to it). The project over the last 12 years has unfolded in several ways. The EXTRA EAR was first imaged as an ear on the side of the head. THE 1/4 SCALE EAR involved growing small replicas of my ear using living cells. And recently, THE EAR ON ARM which began the surgical construction of a full-sized ear on my forearm, one that would transmit the sounds it hears.”
– Stelarc

Stelarc is an Australian artist who has used prosthetics, robotics, VR systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He is interested in the evolutionary architecture of the body and possible ways of redesigning the human augmented by implants and exoskeletons. His earlier work includes making 3 films of the inside of his body, amplifying body signals (such as brainwaves, muscles, bloodflow, heartbeat) and 25 body suspensions with hooks into the skin. Some of his projects include the THIRD HAND, VIRTUAL ARM, STOMACH SCULPTURE, EXOSKELTON, EXTENDED ARM, PROSTHETIC HEAD, MUSCLE MACHINE, PARTIAL HEAD and WALKING HEAD. He is surgically constructing and stem cell growing an EXTRA EAR on his arm that will be internet enabled, making it a publicly accessible acoustical organ for people in other places. He has also been performing as his avatar from his Second Life site, exploring Second Life as a SECOND SKIN. In 1997 he was appointed Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Monash University. In 2010 he was awarded the Hybrid Arts prize at Ars Electronica and has also a Special Projects Grant by the Australia Council. He is currently Chair in Performance Art at Brunel University West London and is Senior Research Fellow in the MARCS Auditory Labs at the University of Western Sydney. His artwork is represented by the SCOTT LIVESEY GALLERIES in Melbourne.

WEBSITE http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/

SECOND LIFE- http://tr.im/jFGN

Brochure of the exhibition [pdf]

Sponsored by Fluxmedia, Concordia University, Department of Communication Studies in collaboration with Incubator Labs and University of Windsor, NXI Gestatio Lab and CIAM/Hexagram (UQAM), Elektra Labs and Mobile Media Labs.