“STELARC is an Australian-based performance artist whose work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human-machine interfaces incorporating medical imaging, prosthetics, robotics, VR, systems and the Internet. The interest is in alternate, intimate and involuntary experiences” – http://www.stelarc.va.com.au/arcx.html
In the context of this weeks theme “Body as Medium”, the work of Stelarc can be considered as an interesting case study. Stelarc explores both the concrete, physical and flesh body and virtual bodies, extended by technology. His website shows his projects and thought, I have chosen a couple of those ideas to discuss. Stelarc states that our body has become obsolete. In other words, out of date, or no longer in general use: ‘We are at the end of philosophy and human physiology’. The body must be redesigned, Virtual Reality technology offers the possibility to go beyond the limits of the physical body: ‘the self becomes situated beyond the skin’.
Trying to put into practice those thought, Stelarc developed various projects. For example the Robot Arm, where the human body is connected with sensors to a robot arm. Here, the movement of the body determines the images on screens. Another project is Hollow Body / Hollow Space, where the inside of the human body literally becomes the artwork, as it is showed on screens through a camera that is swallowed. Also worth noting: the idea of the body that is wired into the Net: a concept that connects the physical body to other physical bodies in other places.
In my opinion, the idea of connecting physical bodies with the Net, could be seen as an augmentation of the body in space. Also other concepts refer to the presence of multiple levels of bodies. I wonder how we could see this relation between bodies and spaces. Is it for example possible that a physical body operates at virtual level? Or vice versa, a virtual body in concrete space? Do you think that Stelarc provides us with examples of going beyond our flesh body?