Performance artist explores our prosthetically-enhanced future
DATE: 5 p.m., Dec. 9, 2004. A reception will follow.
EVENT: Cutting-edge Australian artist Stelarc will discuss his ongoing investigations into the obsolescence of the human body in a performance entitled “Augmented and Avatar Bodies: Muscle Machine, Prosthetic Head and 1/4 Scale Ear.” Free and open to the public.
PLACE: Forum Hall in Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Avenue, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Direction: http://www.umich.edu/~info/maps.html
SPONSORS: The Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Series at the University of Michigan's School of Art & Design and the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute.
BACKGROUND: For more than 30 years, Stelarc has utilized his own body as a means to explore biological limitations and to extend and enhance the body through technology. “The body has become profoundly obsolete in the intense information environment it has created,” Stelarc said. “How can the body function within this landscape of machines? We can't continue designing technology for the body because that technology begins to usurp and outperform the body. Perhaps it's now time to design the body to match its machines.”
In creating a human-machine hybrid, Stelarc uses medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems and the Internet. He performs with a third hand, a virtual arm, a virtual body, and a stomach sculpture.
In his performance, Stelarc will be discussing his recent projects including a prosthetic head, an embodied conversational agent which responds to the person who interrogates it; a 1/4th-scale replica of the artist's ear which was grown with human cells as a step toward constructing an extra ear on his arm; and the partial head, which involves growing facial parts with living cells that will result in a partial portrait of the artist.
Stelarc has performed extensively in Japan, Europe and the US. He has been awarded a Fellowship from the Visual Arts/Craft Board, the Australian Council, and appointed an Honorary Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2003 he was artist-in-residence at the Faculty of Art and Design at Ohio State University in Columbus. For the past three years he has been Principal Research Fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit at The Nottingham Trent University, UK. His art is represented by the Sherman Galleries in Sydney.
Life Sciences Institute:
School of Art & Design: