Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stelarc - The Body is Obsolete - Contemporary Arts Media

Australian perfomance artist Stelarc uses his body as his medium, hybridizing and extending his corporeal flesh with electronic and mechanical technology. Dismissing the traditional western belief that the body is the seat of the soul, Stelerc relinquishes dominion of his flesh--through suspensions, through wired tranferences of agency over his voluntary muscles, and through insertions of technologies into his body for the sake of art. But not frivolous art, art in the name of post-evolutionary progress--to proceed with our integration with our built environments, we must, according to Stelarc, relieve ourselves of the conceit that our bodies, that nature, are somehow sacrosanct and should not be modified or invaded lightly. Stelarc's latest project is the insertion of a third ear into his forearm, a fabricated tissue culture which he hopes to eventually rig with transmission equipment as a new input/output port for information. Stelerc makes the body "freak" by acting out a possible future for our technologized embodiment. Stelarc is a very deliberate artist. He understands the dissonant effect his performances have on his audiences, who cling, most assuredly, to their bodies in terms that stop far short of his post-evolutionary utilitarian attitude.

1 comment:

Gary Lain said...

Curious, I've never fully understood artists like Stelarc and Orlan (the two are quite different formally of course) in terms other than a sort of plundering of the processes of reification themselves. They've been around for quite awhile now, and still they to a certain extent elude definition: one can say interesting things about them, but one can't really isolate them critically, reductively. This is no small thing.

"Don't ever try to define me."
Ed Dorn/"Gunslinger"