[Posted by BR]
ear on arm, 2008 – image: nina sellars
The performance artist Stelarc will be giving a talk tonight at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, from 7-8:30pm. I thought that those of you who are thinking about the fate of the concept of “the human” (and the possible emergence of what has been called “the posthuman”) might be interested to know of Stelarc’s talk, and to see what he’s been up to recently. The online site Designboom has a blog post about Stelarc’s lecture, which includes some images related to his “ear on arm” project (shown above). According to designboom’s post, “the ear implanted in his arm… was grown partly from his own adult stem cells. This ear will eventually become a remote listening device for people in other places. ‘for example, someone in Venice could listen to what my ear is hearing in Melbourne’.”
You may find this earlier post of mine, about the NHC Project, “On the Human,” relevant.
Here is the Henry Art Gallery’s brief write-up about the artist (with links to some previous works):
Lecture title: The Cadaver, The Comatose, & The Chimera: Avatars have no organs
Cadavers can be preserved forever with plastination whilst comatose bodies can be sustained indefinitely on life-support systems. Cryogenically suspended bodies await reanimation at some imagined future date. Donated ova are now fertilized by sperm that were once frozen. The dead, the near-dead, the un-dead and the yet to be born now exist simultaneously. These phenomena and others have brought us, in the mind of the artist Stelarc, to the age of the Cadaver, the Comatose and the Chimera, a newly-dawned epoch that will be the subject of this lecture.
In a career spanning four decades, Stelarc has made art by employing medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He has performed with a third hand, a stomach sculpture, and Exoskeleton, a 6-legged walking robot. Currently he is surgically constructing an extra ear on his arm, which will become internet enabled.