PIOTR ZAWOJSKI » Blog Archive » Who is Stelarc and What Is He Telling Us?

Who is Stelarc and What Is He Telling Us?

Text was published in: Meat, Metal and Code. Contestable Chimeras. Ed. Ryszard W. Kluszczyński. Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia. Gdańsk 2014.

Human 3.0

The idea of singularity developed by Ray Kurzweil and the vision of the human body 3.0 may seem close to Stelarc’s views, but Stelarc himself resolutely rebuffs the notion that around 2050 the world will see a non-biological artificial intelligence emerge in modified bodies. Instead of contemplating artificial intelligence (AI), he prefers to ponder artificial life (ALife), which will come into being as differences between the human and the machine, human intelligence and artificial intelligence are obliterated.[1] One of fundamental concerns specifically manifest in “language [that] perpetuates the Cartesian Theatre”[2] is a growing doubt about what a human is now and what is the essence of humanity.

Questions about the “self,” about human subjectivity, are becoming increasingly problematic for Stelarc, who in the course of his artistic career has felt ever more emphatically that the subjective “I” fades away (There is no “I”). “I” is after all merely a language construct, and what really matters is a body which contacts other bodies. Our identities and our humanity are both produced by the social system, technology and culture. The mind is a highly debatable entity and certainly does not count as the primary determinant of the human. In effect, as Stelarc puts it, “perhaps what it means to be human is not to remain human at all.”[3]

Stelarc’s art is pervaded with thinking about the human in terms which privilege the body and bodiliness. His radical and highly controversial negation, or, perhaps rather, questioning of the primacy of the subject in the age of technocultural expansion is based on the repudiation of Platonic, Cartesian and Freudian metaphysics of the human body. This breeds avowals which are as confrontational as they are thought-provoking, inviting us to reconsider many issues fundamental to Western civilization. “When this body speaks as an I , it does so realizing that in the context of ‘I go to London’ or ‘I make art,’ the letter ‘I’ designates only ‘this body goes to London,’ ‘this body makes art.’”[4]  This is one of the notions which are hard to countenance: such a radical deconstruction of “I” which reduces “I” to just a language construct must result in an awkward differentiation between “I” and “not-I.” Stelarc consistently develops this kind of thinking in which the importance of “I” is canceled out, and its relationality underscored together with its natural tendency to actualize itself in a network of social and cultural connections. Following the currently prevalent account offered by the cyberculture paradigm, we could say that the network is a central metaphor as well as a crucial model of cybercultural organization in which a networked body (not “I,” or rather “not-I”) features as a connective nexus of network society.

In my essay, I would like to ponder who is Stelarc and what “image” of Stelarc emerges from what he writes and says about himself and his work. We could, of course, start by declaring that “we are all Stelarcs now,”[5] as Arthur and Marilouise Kroker suggest, which implies that discussing the artist we, in fact, discuss ourselves. Though very alluring, the approach is a misguided one – Stelarc is simply unique and cannot be used as a “matrix” or a mirror for us to look into and contemplate ourselves. Though the artist is certainly one of a kind and inimitable, he has attracted the interest and inspired the work of many other artists, scholars and researchers. So, who is Stelios Arcadiou, a Limassol-born Greek Cypriot, who when asked whether he is a performance artist, a telematic artist, a site-specific artist, a sculptor, a robotic engineer, or a collaborative designer, answers emphatically that he is a performance artist.[6] He chose that path in the 1960, when, as an art student, he realized he was not much of a painter. And he has walked this path ever since. When he was still at art school, he designed helmets and goggles which could be viewed as an anticipation of the future gear of virtual reality systems. He used them between 1968 and 1972. He did not graduate, however, as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology was not a place he could call his own. Years later, he recalled: “No one understood [what I was trying to do] and in fact I wasn’t allowed to do a fourth year, and so I was never allowed to complete my art course.”[7] This undoubtedly prompted his decision to go to Japan, where he spent twenty years and where his artistic career really took off.

In the bio-techno-logical epoch, biology and technology in their separate ways, but first and foremost jointly, establish a framework for a new posthumanist and transhumanist reality. Not longer a niche earmarked for a small group of geeky aficionados of new technologies, post-trans-humanism is in a way becoming the mainstream of contemporary cyberculture.[8] It forms a natural backdrop for artistic and scholarly practices which place the body issues at the centre of interest, though matters of corporeality cannot be separated easily from matters of spirituality.

 Others on Stelarc

 When in his philosophy of the media Wojciech Chyła discusses the “mind-body problem” as related to biotechnosystems, he draws on Manuel Lopes da Silva to underscore that information and audiovisual technologies are involved in our mental rather than somatic activity. Emphasis on the soul’s drive to emancipate itself from the body and corporal constraints may entail “an inception of nature in the biotechnosystemic re-cycling and an induction of transgenic, genetically modified, hybrid and permanently transforming and transfiguring bodies. It may entail a victory of transgenotes and chimeras over natural species, which guarantees unboundedness of the Soul, and a victory of the biotechnosphere over the biosphere, which will remove all obstacles to the Soul.”[9] The Soul’s flight toward vitality is a way in which the mental may shuffle off this mortal coil. And that is only a step away from crossing not only the physical limits of our bodiliness but also the boundaries of the human species. The technical and the technological are a driving force and a means toward that end. In effect, the whole intricate complex becomes “a proper source of all human attainments. It is not ejected out of the human species, that is, beyond the generic human body, any more, but is intra-systemically conjugated with this body to form a single exo-, supra- or post-generically human biotechnosystem, and unstoppably impels a profound transformation of homo sapiens.”[10]

This exposition of processes involved in the expansion of the media and technology may furnish a philosophical background for Stelarc’s work, but, importantly, mental or spirituals factors do not play the most prominent role in it. On the contrary, it is the body that is central to changes, or – strictly speaking – the fact that body functions must be thoroughly re-thought and body architecture re-designed by means of new technologies. Sketching tentatively the philosophical and (cyber)cultural contexts for Stelarc’s work, before I let him speak for himself, I would like to cite a few thinkers who can help us find out who Stelarc essentially is.

Though he considers Stelarc his friend,[11] Paul Virilio disagrees entirely with his vision and calls him a futurist for whom humanity is salvageable on condition that the human transfigures completely and willingly in self-chosen ways.[12] These ways involve, first of all, various enhancements of the body’s operational functions. Stelarc’s revolutionary thinking and concepts, in this sense, would not reside in conceptual speculations which the artist is actually determined to eschew (to what end we will see below), but in a radical re-construction and re-designing of the body.  Virilio, fascinated with aesthetic strategies and the envisioned physical mutations, sees it as an “eugenic suicide,” which may be associated with Jürgen Habermas’s well-known theses about the future of human nature relying on natural eugenics. “Instead of committing plan suicide, he does so by grafting himself into various gizmos, so that in the end, there will be no Stelarc, pffuuut!, gone! Only a pure automaton will remain.”[13] Eugenics is in fact frequently evoked in discussions sparked by the performance artist’s practices, particularly in the judgments passed by bioconservatists, who tend to regard posthumanist and transhumanist experiments as a manifestation of anti-humanism and a threat to the future of man and his “nature” (vide Francis Fukuyama’s ideas).

Taking on board Stelarc’s affirmation that “the ultimate limit of philosophy is the limit of physiology” and evolution ends when technology intrudes out bodies and penetrates their innards – as in one of his most dangerous experiments when a sculpture was inserted into his abdomen, (Stomach Sculpture, 1993) – Virilio has no doubts that this is a culmination arrived at through a long process. “Taking up Nietzsche’s theme, the artist goes on to declare that ‘deconstruction’ should apply not only to language, that medium of communication par excellence, but also to human physiology…”[14] Stelarc rejects eugenics in the sense of a social engineering strategy. Responding to Paul Virilio’s accusations or qualms, he points to Catholicism as a source of such fears, and our habit of seeing the skin as the boundary of our bodies. As long as technology is situated outside our bodies, it is approved of even if effects of technological reinforcements are not exactly favorable. Yet things change when technology sets out to colonize the interior of bodies, and Virilio views this as an intransgressible limit. The body turns interface; nonetheless, the skin has never been “a bounding interface,” and both now and in the future its role should lie in osmotic opening to that which comes from the world external to the body’s interior.[15]

The role of engineering and technology seems to be a crucial point of inquiry into Stelarc’s artistic and exploratory practices. This is well captured by Joanna Zylinska, who postulates that reiterated interpretations of Stelarc’s art as a proclamation of a post-bodily world in which we go beyond and invalidate our limitations by means of technological implants and extensions should be supersede by alternative readings of his assumptions and intentions. She puts forward two basic ontological propositions which inform a re-thinking of the human-technology relationship. Firstly, the body is neither “inadequate” nor obsolete in the age of new media; and secondly, the human has always been, and still is, intertwined with the technical, which is, it could be claimed, what actually makes us human. Thus, Stelarc’s performances “should rather be seen […] as taking on, and making both visible and audible, the differential relationship the human has always had with technology.”[16]

In this way, we have arrived at a fundamental issue highlighted by Joanna Zylinska’s interpretation of Stelarc’s practices – human nature is immanently interlinked with technology. More than simply that, it is in fact produced and enacted through technology. And it is by no means a profession of technological determinism, but rather that which Bernard Stiegler, whom Zylinska draws on, refers to as “originary technicity.” Zylinska’s argument is firmly underpinned by the French philosopher’s concepts and ideas, which she sees as perfectly exemplified in Stelarc’s works. “In Technics and Time Stiegler denaturalizes the position of ‘nature’ as primary and of man as originally savage and existing in unity with nature. ‘Pure nature’ is shown to be a logical impossibility, as for man to exist, he needs to differentiate himself – through what Stiegler calls a technical accident – from the world, from ‘nature,’ from what is non-human.”[17] I fully agree with such a reading, and I share as well the notion that many commentators tend to grossly oversimplify Stelarc’s art in seeing it merely as a precipitate rejection of the body and the human. After all, the artist himself insists that, indeed, “the body is obsolete in form and function. But we cannot operate disembodied. We cannot discard the body.”[18]

An important and comprehensive contribution to Stelarc scholarship came from Mark Dery’s Escape Velocity. The book was an important voice in the debate on cyberculture which developed in the mid-1990s, though Dery’s approach to cyberculture as a specific variety of computer-age subculture does not sound very opportune today. What is important for us here is that Dery finds a unique context and a special tradition into which to inscribe Stelarc’s enterprises of that period. Crucially, he unravels pronounced affinities between Stelarc’s ideas and Marshall McLuhan’s theories, and, even more significantly, he traces the origins of his endeavors to cyberpunk practices. Yet, if cyberpunk designates a distinct trend in science-fiction literature, cybernetic body art, as Mark Dery defines Stelarc’s work, is an enactment of literary and theoretical fictions of the cyborg. If in Donna Haraway, the cyborg metaphor was incarnated into a theoretical form, in Stelarc, as Ross Farnell suggests,[19] it was materialized into reality, a claim that Stelarc himself has in fact many reservations about. “Stelarc’s performances are pure cyberpunk,”[20] Dery powerfully asserts, and Stelrac as such is “a postmodern incarnation of the archetypal image of Man the microcosm.”[21] In those days, writings by such authors as Neal Stephenson, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling reveled in speculations concerning postumanist and transhumanist future of the human and human-made technocultural reality. But producing literary fictions and engagement in research are admittedly different things than direct actions in which one’s body is used as a testing ground and a medium at the same time. Stelarc himself calls them “sci-fi scenarios for human-machine symbiosis… performance as simulation rather than ritual.”[22]

Gabriella Giannachi proposes a different framework to examine Stelarc’s work in and sees his practices as involved with what she calls “virtual theatre.” The concept itself is rather controversial, especially that Giannachi associates it with such artists as Merce Cunningham, Blast Theory, Edurado Kac, Orlan, Jodi, Lynn Hershman, Jeffrey Shaw, and Marcel-lí Antúnez Roca, but her argument does offer a novel approach to Stelarc’s art. She contends, namely, that “[i]n his work, Body Art meets Conceptual Art and both manifest themselves through the interface of the body and the technological. The realization of this interface is the ‘happening’ of the artwork.”[23] Reading art projects as largely conceptual practices recurs quire frequently also in the context of bioart. Eduardo Kac, for example, has frequently found himself forced to rebut such assessments of his art; he has repeatedly emphasized that biological art as an art that uses “life” (a specific kind of biomedium) is not a strategy which relies on conceptual practices, since those may indeed underlie particular projects, but their essence lies in physical and not virtual (meaning “capable of existing”) artefacts.

In one of the most important (and most extensive) texts on Stelarc, Brian Massumi authoritatively states: “One thing that is clear is that Stelarc is not a conceptual artist.”[24] He is not concerned with communicating ideas about the body discursively (which is not entirely the case as evidenced in the artist’s writings analyzed in the following), but with the “physical experience of ideas.” His strategy treats the body as a structure through and in which particular concepts can manifest themselves. The body is also a medium in McLuhan’s sense of the term – it is after all the message itself, and a part of this message is a thesis that the body is obsolete and needs augmenting, which evokes special “prosthetic politics.” In evolutionary terms, the “object” has already achieved a fullness of being and now must be submitted to postevolutionary reconstruction, which in might be called “creative evolution,” to use Sarah Kember’s term.[25]

Giannachi stresses that for Stelarc “the future is beyond the world of the skin, beyond locality and individuality.”[26]This concept was emphatically explored in performances from the 1990s in which the artist employed the Internet to make his body available in real time to other participants (Fractal Flesh, Ping Body, Parasite) and in the failed attempts of the Extra Ear project. The idea of physically separated but jointly acting bodies invites a serious re-thinking today. The concept of collective intelligence, collective mind, and ideas such as those developed by Derrick de Kerckhove and Pierre Lévy seem to have reached a stalemate. The collective mind now connotes primarily a forfeit of personality and identity (as well as subjectivity) rather than any value added (by the net). Such collective colonization of the subject is more of a loss than a profit in the process of constructing a unique individuality. Utopian conjectures about how the net augments us (and the other way round) should now be approached with considerable caution, if not with downright skepticism.

Stelarc writes

           In the following two sections, I would like to analyze Stelarc’s own words. As already mentioned, Stelarc time and again disclaims any aspirations to developing theoretical and philosophical constructs, stressing that he is first and foremost a performance artist engaged in action rather than in speculative or fictional ways of speaking about the future, which are adopted by, for example, science fiction authors. “The difference between science fiction writers and artists is that,” Stelarc states, “as an artist, what I want to do is not merely to speculate in the science fiction way, but to simulate. Speculation is not enough. I want to directly experience what it means to have a third hand, to have technology implanted in my body, or to be Internet-activated in a teleoperation.”[27]

And yet, despite reiterated claims to the contrary, he publishes, grants innumerable interviews, and frequently gives talks on his art all over the world (he has been to every continent except Africa, I believe). He collaborates with many universities as a lecturer and as a researcher. To analyze this vast material and spell out his basic artistic, aesthetic and theoretical tenets is a challenging task, all the more so as they are first of all a supplement to his creative practices. They could be also ignored as an inconsequential, “trite” even, self-commentary on his artistic oeuvre – on his art, which should be the focus of researchers and critics. This position is represented by Keith Ansell Pearson,[28] whose dismissal of Stelarc’s discursive propositions as “banal,” while slightly overstated perhaps, definitely hits the mark, as surveying the artist’s published texts we can easily notice repetitions and even self-plagiarisms (if research publication standards were applied). Stelarc constantly addresses the same key issues, but first of all presents his works. His descriptions do not dwell extensively on the technicalities of particular performances, and the self-interpretations he offers may actually make one wonder whether the artist is indeed the best interpreter of his art, and whether perhaps he does not sometimes plunge into overinterpretations, that is, whether by mounting a discursive superstructure of meanings for some works he does not force reception strategies upon the audience. This is, by the way, a broader problem in the field of new media art, in which authorial explication tends to be an indispensable component, as without this kind of guidance, interactors or participants in an event may not only be confused but also simply fail to switch on works which demand active participation, cooperation and collaboration. Thus, if we assume that there are some criteria which limit interpretation, as Umberto Eco claims, we must also remember that although “there are no rules that help to ascertain which interpretations are the ‘best’ ones, there is at least a rule for ascertaining which ones are ‘bad.’”[29]

Despite these reservations and doubts, I have decided to survey Stelarc’s publications and focus on a few seminal ones, bearing in mind that the artist himself has his doubts and fully realizes that his discursive practices may stir controversy. “I think,” he says, “it’s also a result of my being found wanting between the realm of my production on the one hand and trying to articulate my ideas on the other. If you’re doing performances simply to illustrate your ideas, that doesn’t work! And if you’re trying to justify your actions through a prosthesis of textual analysis, that doesn’t work either. But there is sometimes an uncomfortable feedback loop when your performances start generating ideas, so it’s not always easy to resolve or to evaluate what’s affecting what. Unfortunately, what often happens is that people are critiquing your work more from what you’ve written than what you’re doing.”[30] This generally seems to be a major problem in contemporary art reception, with much of the public being acquainted with artworks from either criticism, discussions, analyses and interpretations, or video recordings posted on the Internet. The point is, however, that performance – and I assume that performance is indeed Stelarc’s major domain – by definition calls for direct participation in a given event, whose essence lies in becoming at a particular place and time. The tensions which are produced at such moments seem to be “unrecordable,” though there are exceptions to the rule, admittedly.[31]

Let us look into selected articles written over the last twenty five years by the artist, who does not pose as a theorist of contemporary (cyber)culture, though he does construct a coherent vision of how he understands the positioning of the biological body in the era of the postsomatic society. His views are essentially constant, and if they acquire some new facet, it is due first of all to new tools or environments which the artist has incorporated into his artistic apparatus. These include, to enumerate only the most important ones, the Internet and alternative interfaces (touch screens, ISDN connections, pneumatic mechanisms, industrial robots, reverse motion capture, cell cultures, Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life, implants, biomaterials (for example, fat tissue and blood), or Second Life.

Three publications from the 1990s seem to aptly represent the artist’s prevalent interests in that time. Their structure and composition are repetitive, and they feature recurrent motifs and references to his art. In 1991, Stelarc published an article titled “Prosthetics, Robotics and Remote Experience: Postevolutionary Strategies” in Leonardo (which in itself was a major feat),[32] recapitulating the talk he delivered at the Second International Symposium on Electronic Art (SISEA) in 1990 in Groningen, the Netherlands. I mention it here only because this moment marks the onset of Stelarc’s extraordinary artistic activity (including performances and exhibitions) and involvement in lecturing, initially in Australia, but soon also in Europe, the USA, Canada, and Japan. As Stelarc himself calculates, he is constantly on the road, spending 9 to 10 months a year travelling,[33] which may be after all a reason why recently he has come up with new projects rather rarely.

In short paragraphs, the artist explains why it is imperative that postevolutionry strategies be applied to the “obsolete body.” “Obsolete body” is a key concept for him, and, at the same time, an axis around which his work revolves: “It is time to question whether a bipedal, breathing body with binocular vision and a 1400 cc brain is an adequate biological form.”[34] In the age of miniaturized biocompatible technologies, the limitations which ensue from the historically molded body architecture should be overcome. To do this, radical methods must be developed to re-engineer the human body, which ties in with a postulate to re-define our notion of the human. All the more so as the “empty body” is a perfect space, waiting to be “filled up” with technological components that may very effectively contribute to creating a hybrid creature in which the human and the machinic are integrated. Postevolutionary strategies must involve first of all adjustment of the human to a mechanical system. As the future of the body lies in a human-machine symbiosis, the cyborg plays an essential role in Stelarc’s concepts, which could largely be assigned to cyborgology, a research trend within the cybercultural paradigm. Though in Stelarc what we deal with, in fact, is a “symborg” rather. “Symborg” is a term used for the first time, to my knowledge, in an essay by Gary Zebington which made up an integral part of Metabody: From Cyborg to Symborg, a CD-ROM created in 1997. The collaborative project of Stelarc and the Australian arts and technology group Merlin (the Media and Education Research Lab and Interactive Network), the CD-ROM was shown, for example, at ISEA 97 in Chicago and, then, at various new media institutions across the world.[35] The symborg denotes a human-machine entity which is not an individual, bounded being, but one that interacts with other beings in simulated, symbiotic and symbolic relations. Of course, all that was interlocked with Stelarc’s performances Fractal Flesh (1995), Ping Body (1996) and ParaSite (1997).

Characteristically, the bibliography of this article includes a number of publications which are not directly referred to in the text, but the entries are supposed to suggest that the author’s reasoning is grounded in scholarly or philosophical literature which prompted his insights. Listed in the bibliography, though not cited in the text, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Martin Heidegger, John Searle, Lewis Mumford, Paul Virilio serve to legitimize or perhaps to provide a “research apparatus” for Stelarc’s argument. Of course, some inspiration could certainly be attributed to the thinkers’ works, but the prevalent impression is that such a collection of bibliographical references, rather than being immediately related to the content of the article, is simply there to satisfy the requirements for submissions to the reputed and renowned journal. Nevertheless, the bibliographic entries undoubtedly gesture at some general inspiration sources and the conceptual framework which helped the artist formulate and articulate his own views. Still, Stelarc has repeatedly claimed that he has never sought any immediate inspiration and has equally often renounced the postmodern strategies of “appropriating,” borrowing or re-working earlier works. And indeed, one thing that cannot be denied, even by Stelarc’s fierce critics, is that his projects bear an inimitable authorial signature. A kind of monothematic preoccupation could even be identified as a hallmark of Stelarc’s work, though this recurring concern (focused on the body’s confrontations with new technologies) is displayed in ever new forms and new media on which the artist relies for expressing, time and again, the same ideas informing his views on the body which inhabits the world of biotechnology.

“Parasite Visions: Alternate, Intimate and Involuntary Experiences” has a slightly different angle. The article was also published in Polish (as “Pasożytnicze wizje; doznania intymne i bezwiedne”[36]) when Stelarc first came to Poland in 1997 to perform at the Media Art Biennale WRO in Wrocław. The text on the one hand describes some actual performances (exploring the possibilities offered by the Internet), and on the other indulges in speculations about future options for re-designing the body. Hence, its rhetoric abounds in phrases such as: “consider a body that can extrude its awareness and action into other bodies or bits of bodies in other places,”, “imagine the consequences and advantages of being a split body with voltage-in, inducing the behavior of a remote agent and voltage-out of your body to control peripheral devices,” “consider a task begun by a body in one place, completed by another body in another place,” “or perhaps what is necessary is electronic erasure with new intimate, internalized interfaces to allow for the design of a body with more adequate inputs and outputs for performance and awareness augmented by phantoms and search engines.”[37]

This way of discoursing on the potential of new technologies seems, however, to have only a tangential bearing on Stelarc’s actual works. For example, one of his basic questions was in how far the body (in fact, its left side) controlled by others and plugged into the Internet (but actually absent from it and thus not faced with imperfection) created an “autonomous” choreography of motions. Thus, very specific, tangible actions went hand in hand with conceptual speculations only very loosely related to them. And I will not even touch upon here the polemic against the core of Stelarc’s assertions, in which the biological, exclusively self-controlled body is repeatedly and consistently claimed to be an inadequate relic. Grand, not to say grandiose, as they sound, such claims are difficult to endorse, which is, after all, the case with Stelarc’s other propositions, as well. Autonomy and control of the body are, arguably, the cornerstone of subjectivity and identity, the relinquishing of which does not seem an acceptable idea particularly in times, like ours, marked by the ubiquitous spread of monitoring strategies of both surveillance and sousveillance.

Published first in 1998, From Psycho-Body to Cyber-System: Images as Post-Human Entities[38] is one of Stelarc’s most elaborate texts. On the one hand, it recapitulates a decade of his work, and on the other, it announces what his main artistic field is going to be in the future. The title encapsulates the fundamental thesis about a necessary transition from bodies which are a mental reality which functions in a biological habitat to a cybersystem and cyberspace, from genetic constraints to electronic extensions, from a unitary subject to images as posthuman beings endowed with immortality. The view that the body is obsolete is here reinforced by attention to constantly mutating images, which re-define not only the body but also the human. This text also copiously replicates extensive excerpts from earlier publications (for example from the Leonardo article discussed above), which are interwoven with passages concerning the projects on which Stelarc was working at the time (e.g. Extra Ear, Stimbod, Movatar). More and more emphatically, his reflection on the body gravitates towards a cyberbody and hybrid, human-machinic entities and extends onto the issues of telepresence (drawing on Marvin Minsky), tele-existence (building on Susumu Tachi’s concepts) and potential use of avatars. Notably, Second Life was to be made available to the public by Linden Lab only a few years later in 2003. The text includes a number of fresh insights which could be viewed as technological metaphysics, particularly when Stelarc speaks of “pan-planetary physiology” or “protective biosphere.” Basically, however, we find ourselves in an already familiar world of concepts. Its overriding idea holds that technology transforms the nature of human existence, but, alas, we still only little realize that without operational amplification the body will remain an ineffective architecture and structure, while its “emptiness” directly demands being filled up with new technologies, especially those which are capable of re-colonizing the body through miniature robots (e.g. self-replicating, nano-scale assemblers described by K. Eric Drexler). Miniaturized re-colonization became a recurrent motif in Stelarc’s writings at that time.

In Prosthetic Head[39] (2005), Stelarc presents the eponymous project, which is a particular enactment of a “body without organs” based on the idea of Embodied Conversational Agents in which communicative behavior is taken on board. The text draws on the works of such philosophers as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean Baudrillard, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, whose ideas inspired Stelarc and underpinned his concepts of human consciousness and intelligence.  The texts includes fragments of a conversation between Stelarc-the instructor and the speaking prosthetic head, an example of an artificial intelligence system (and a “philosophy machine” at the same time), which tackle first of all consciousness and its illusory existence. In this project, the artist revisits the problem of “obsessions of individuality,” arguing once again that in the age of networked communication, the idea of a singular body possessing a unique, “enclosed” awareness is as outdated as our body is. “A body’s authenticity is not due to the coherence of its individuality but rather to its multiplicity of collaborating agents. What becomes important is not merely the body’s identity, but its connectivity – not its mobility or location, but its interface and operation.”[40]

The project is interesting, first of all, because, unlike Stelarc’s previous works, it is not just a performance (the head is present on a big screen) but an event in which the discursive layer is foregrounded. The artist treats the head as his substitute and explains that being often queried by students about various aspects of his work, he decided to make use of an avatar replacement. Some problems may arise when the head expands its conversational database and attains autonomy. When it comes to pass, will it still act as Stelarc’s mouthpiece or will the artist disclaim responsibility for the judgments it pronounces or the songs it sings?

Besides numerous rehearsals of already often used passages and explications of new works, the texts from the 2000s[41] introduce a few new ideas. These are linked primarily with the extended Ear on Arm project and its spin-offs, such as Internet Ear, Ear on Arm Performance and Ear on Arm Suspension as well as Blender, in which he collaborated with Nina Sellars, Partial Head and Phantom Flesh/Circulating Organs. The repository of metaphors and theoretical and practical figures which Stelarc drew on earlier receives a series of new additions in coma, cadaver, chimera (i.e. an entity which combines meat, metal and code) and zombie. The vocabulary itself suggests that the artist tends to rely more extensively on metaphorical language. He writes that we have essentially always been zombies and cyborgs, but today the idea of a zombie as a body without its own mind is materialized through various technologies which automate the body’s operations. If we throw in the possibilities of growing new organs and “printing” them in 3D printers, “instead of a ‘body without organs,’ now we will have ‘organs without body.’ Organs awaiting body.”[42] At the same time, the artist himself acknowledges that the growing of organs belongs to the distant future yet.

The posthuman thus will be neither a real body nor a machine, but an autonomous entity multiplexed by the Internet and electronic media. This will be a truly alternative being chimeric in nature, composed of biocomponents and technological prostheses which operate in a reality that extends into the virtual and the cybernetic. In these kinds of mixed realities, the body keeps circulating to finally turn into an Internet portal available to everybody. The concept of “third life” accrues special meanings here, offering ways to go beyond the avatar-like existence typical of the Second Life environment. The reverse motion capture system provides an alternative form of post-human existence which inverts the prior order: it is no longer bodies that operate in the virtual space through avatars – it is avatars that can act in the real world through biological bodies.

Grounded on highly disputable speculations and hypotheses, this vision seems to be more of a conceptual experiment than an actual program for the future. Symptomatically, Second Life, which Stelarc heavily relies on in his recent projects, is actually losing ground and the fascination with this environment and its possibilities is clearly subsiding. Categorizing SL as a dead medium may be indeed premature, but it seems to be a dead-end alley in the sprouting grid of contemporary cyberculture. Is the same to be said about Stelarc’s concepts in general? The provocative and flamboyant ideas that Stelarc voices never cease to intrigue and spark reflection on the future of the human in the age of technoculture. The speculations characteristic of his discursive practices essentially tackle philosophical questions in ontology (how the body functions) and epistemology (how the new reality generated by the expansion of new technologies may be known).

Stelarc speaks

 

From among Stelarc’s innumerable interviews, I decided to focus on about a dozen, some of which have already been mentioned. Referring to them, I would like to briefly chart Stelarc’s inspirations, interests, intellectual inquiries and experiments. Stelarc himself resolutely professes that “I don’t search for inspiration,”[43] that some of his ideas take shape suddenly while some take a long time to germinate. Sometimes, when asked about the origins of his projects, he must in fact explain rather obvious things. Often quizzed whether in his suspensions he was inspired by primordial rituals of South America or India, he answers that he has never been to India or Malaysia; and questions about Tarsem Singh’s film The Cell  (2000) are entirely misguided since he could not possibly have borrowed from it as his suspension cycle commenced in the 1970s. “The body without memory”[44] – the title of a text based on an interview with the artist – is something different from a human being who builds his/her identity based on an exact memory of the books s/he’s read, paintings s/he’s seen, concerts s/he’s heard or plays s/he’s watched.

It is also interesting how Stelarc assesses his own art, and his judgment is very harsh, indeed. His capacity for self-analysis and self-evaluation is rooted in firm beliefs and critical self-reflection on his artistic intents and goals. Ear on Arm shows perhaps most emphatically Stelarc’s awareness of when the project ends with less than success. At the same time, it is exactly Ear on Arm that has become the artist’s most spectacular and recognizable “attribute.” It turns out that the idea as such, be it the most extraordinary one, is not enough – what truly matters is how the idea is performed. And this is often far from satisfying. “I must admit actually that my entire career as an artist is largely a failure. I haven’t completed any of the projects I’ve started. So all of them are a kind of failure because I’ve never managed to fully execute what was invented, imagined, and finally remained only in the realm of possibility.”[45] The reasons for the failures may be found both in the limitations of available technology and in the limitations of the body because, as Stelarc notes in speaking of Ear on Arm, a project which ties in with many earlier works such as Fractal Flesh or Phantom Flesh, our “biological body is not well organ-ized’.”[46] Let us remember, however that in 2010 the “failed” project was awarded the Golden Nica (the highest prize) for Hybrid Art at Prix Ars Electronica in Linz.

Another issue which Stelarc addresses is the relationship between scientists and researchers, on the one hand, and artists on the other: “Fortunately there will always be some programmers, engineers or surgeons who will assist artists, even though they may not understand their raison d’être or how it can possibly be art. They’ll do so because they’re intrigued with the idea and interested in the artist as a person and a creative other.”[47] When we ponder the artistic processes involved in new media art-making which uses state of the art technologies, we tend to overlook all too easily the simple fact that such practices entail extensive collaboration: IT solutions or biomaterials, such as tissues and DNA, utilized in bioartists’ in vivo projects take a team to develop and apply. Scientists may often find artists’ explorations thoroughly incomprehensible. And, anyway, distinctions and boundaries are rather blurred here. Why are the practices engaged in by Stelarc and many other artists, such as Tissue Culture and Art Project, Zbigniew Oksiuta or Ken Rinaldo, discussed in terms of certain aesthetic strategies, while the interesting experiments performed by Kevin Warwick are classified as science?

Stelarc is fully aware of these obscurities and vacillations: “The roles of science and arts are very different both in strategies and in outcomes. I think art is more about asking questions rather than the scientific approach that tries to answer questions. So I think that art is interesting when it generates more questions than answers […] [G]enerally speaking, I think we do not want artists to be doing bad researches and we do not want scientists to become bad artists. What connects artists and scientists is just technology. But they use technology in different ways.”[48] Of course, without consultation, collaboration and design work on various devices, certain projects would not have been possible in the first place. Yet ethical concerns are not the only possible constraint: some works can be forestalled simply due to particular bioethical regulations which ban some actions on legal grounds. This led to the growing of earlobes using mouse cells rather than human stem cells, which is forbidden by U.S. law. It was in the U.S. (Los Angeles), however, where the first synthetic, porous ear-shaped scaffold was implanted on the artist’s arm.

Although Stelarc has repeatedly stressed that he has never studied philosophy or cultural theory systematically, he often refers to both in his interviews. He admits to a deep interest in Arthur Schopenhauer, Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Nietzsche, David Hume, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Jacques Derrida. Yet, he seems to be the most intent on engaging the great three – Plato, Descartes and Sigmund Freud – and that polemically: “[W]hat it means to be a body has always been a biological, social, cultural and technological construct. But we do need to go beyond Platonic, Cartesian and Freudian constructs of internal minds and selves. Of the skin as a bounding of the self and as a beginning to the world. Nietzsche asserts that that there is no being behind the doing, and Wittgenstein says there is no need to locate thinking inside the head. The more and more performances I do, the less and less I feel any mind at all in the traditional metaphysical.”[49]

There are also contemporary thinkers whose ideas absorb Stelarc and are a source of intellectual or conceptual borrowings which can easily be identified in his works, whether he verbalizes them directly or not. The major three figures are, firstly, Marshall McLuhan, whose The Medium is the Massage Stelarc calls one of his crucial readings; secondly, Jean Baudrillard, primarily, his Simulations and Simulacra; and, thirdly, the previously mentioned Paul Virilio, in particular his Velocity and Politics. Stelarc adds also Martin Buber (I and Thou), Herbert Simon (The Science of the Artificial), Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze (Mille Plateaux), and Arthura Kroker and Michael A. Weinstein (Data Trash). We could further expand the list, considering Stelarc’s interest in the theory of evolution, cognitive sciences, postmodern philosophy and theory, physics, and consciousness studies.

He answers questions about literature and film rather perfunctorily. In his adolescence he read Isaac Asimov, Philip Dick, William Burroughs, and Arthur C. Clarke, but his memories of these books are rather vague. He has also read William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. He is far more interested in such journals as Scientific American or Wired than in science-fiction novels, as he does not consider their fictional speculations cognitively fruitful. His appraisal of the one-sided interpretations of his works, such as, for example, the feminist reading of Third Hand, is similar. If seen as just another version of the cinematic Terminator 2 or RoboCop, Stelarc would allegedly be working toward perpetuating male power, which is founded on producing and using technology. But, as Stelarc reminds, the third hand was constructed long before the films in question (1980, 1991 and 1987, respectively). Besides, he insists, putting his practices on a par with popular culture’s offer of “cold metallic-phallic machines [which] are inhuman and alien”[50] is thoroughly ungrounded. The films frame the dystopian future as utterly pathological, and that vision does not align with Stelarc’s approach, which looks into the future with optimism, eschewing, however, any utopist naïveté.

Stelarc’s favorite film is David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983), which certainly does not come as a surprise. He also mentions Tetsuo: The Iron Man, a Japanese film given to him as a gift by its director Shinya Tsukamoto. Yet films, books or, in broader terms, popular culture are far less important to Stelarc than the early fascinations which affected his artistic maturation. Retracing them, he mentions Stanisław Ostoja-Kotkowski – an Australia-based Polish artist recognized for his pioneering work with new technologies. In the 1960s, he was the first to use laser effects in theatre and opera productions, create fractal-based computer graphic designs, convert sound into color and shape, and construct devices or instruments which generated music in contact with the human body. Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Allan Kaprow, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg hardly need introducing. Stelarc mentions also Merce Cunningham, Tanaka Min, and Christo. He is often asked about Orlan’s art and speaks of her in admiring terms, highlighting that she authenticates her ideas by physical actions. Stelarc calls Orlan’s work a “postmodern performance,” and observes that his art and hers are often brought together based on a rather superficial judgment because there are more differences than similarities between the two. In particular, Orlan’s work is pervaded by mysticism and steeped in the mythical archetypes which underlay the artist’s consecutive surgeries. Undoubtedly, however, Orlan is a fascinating person and an interesting artist, as Stelarc concludes.[51]

Another interesting theme tackled in some interviews with Stelarc is the music or sounds produced and used in his performances. This is one of the focal points particularly in his conversation with Rainer Linz[52] (a sound artist and designer of many interactive systems used in performances, Stelarc’s collaborator since 1987), which sheds important light on many sonic aspects of his art. In his early work, when his body was amplified in various ways and monitored by various systems by methods such as EEG (electroencephalography – bioelectric examination of brainwaves), ECG (electrocardiography – heart activity recording), EMG (electromyography – evaluation of muscle electrical activity), sound served the idea of the Amplified Body. In that period (the 1970s and 1980s), the artist relied on concrete music and was fascinated by Terry Reilly, Karlheinz Stockhausen and his favorite John Cage.

Acoustic signals from the body treated as a source of amplified and processed sound are an essential component of Stelarc’s works. However, applying categories of music is perhaps not the best way of approaching them even though in 1991 a CD titled Stelarc was released with audio recordings of performances from the Amplified Body cycle mainly, and in 1999 Linz made a CD titled Fractal Flesh – Ping Body and Parasite Performance. The recordings documented a special use to which the body was put as a unique “percussive” instrument that produced improvised soundscapes. In this dimension, the body is viewed as a specific medium of expression with the audible hardly separable from the visual even though in his talk with Marco Donnarumma[53] Stelarc claims that his practices as a performance artist are rooted in his visual arts education and that he has always seen sound as sculptural. It could be mentioned in passing that one of the basic tools used in these performances was an analogue synthesizer which produced a sound delay effect. Asked whether he does not feel a sense of discomfort in using old, “low” technology while most of his performances are associated with complex technologies of the digital era, Stelarc emphatically insists that “my aim has never been to use technology for its own sake, or to necessarily even use the latest technology.”[54]

The body can thus perform various functions, be a site of action, interaction and experimentation, and assume the form of a chimera capable of finding versatile uses as a biological instrument which produces sound. The sonic dimension of the body’s workings, internal metabolism and external architecture was immanent to complex performances in the past. Hence it is not surprising that Stelarc highly values such artists as Suguro Goto (netBodyAugmented Body Virtual Body), Terminalbeach (The Heart Chamber Orchestra), and Sensorband (SoundNET), who in their various ways have used the body as a kind of autonomous sound sculpture.

Conclusion

So who is Stelarc after all, except the obvious fact that he is one of the most recognizable performance, body art and bioart artist? His inimitable and absolutely unique work has made him famous far beyond the narrow realm of contemporary art engaged with biology and postbiology, body and technology, the real and the virtual, the material and the immaterial. If we attend to what he says and writes, we must conclude that although he is determined to distance himself from his reputation as a theorist or a philosophizing practitioner, he in fact is one. His work is, after all, grounded on a negation of the Cartesian philosophical tradition, which promulgates the body-mind split. “It is not interesting for me to talk academically or theoretically about ideas of interface, the important thing for me is to plug in, extend the body with cyber-systems and see what it can actually do.”[55] Contrary to what he has repeatedly professed, he is engaged in critical reflection on cyberculture, revealing not only indirectly, through his practices, but also discursively, his philosophical and cognitive competence and original views on technolculture, which once and again spark heated discussions.

Nicholas Zurgrugg juxtaposes Paulo Virilio’s concepts and Stelarc’s work and offers conclusions which, to my mind, aptly encapsulate the artist’s practices. Writing about Marcel Duchamp, Virilio stated once that he was a real philosopher because philosophy is not simply confined to books – one can philosophize through painting or film. Art need not and should not be enclosed within galleries. In this sense, the logic of philosophical reflection is intrinsic to Stelarc’s artistic and aesthetic strategies. To conclude, let us add that the reverse is equally true:  “Virilio himself is quite as ‘real’ an artist as Duchamp or Stelarc.”[56] Art and philosophy are intertwined and mutually complementary, and their symbiotic coexistence makes what Stelarc does and what he tells us truly weighty and meaningful.

Endnotes:


[1] Cf. F. Kalinowski, “Phantom Flesh: Extreme Performance Artist Stelarc Interviewed,” http://thequietus.com/articles/11469-stelarc-interview

[2] Ibid.

[3] M. Donnarumma, “Fractal Flesh – Alternate Anatomical Architecture. Interview with Stelarc,” http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/14_2/donnarumma_stelarc.html

[4] Stelarc, M. Smith, “Animating Bodies, Mobilizing Technologies: Stelarc in Conversation,” [in:] Stelarc. The Monograph, ed. M. Smith, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, London 2005, pp. 216-217.

[5] A. and M. Kroker, “We Are All Stelarcs Now,” [in:] Stelarc. The Monograph…, pp. 63-85.

[6] Stelarc, M. Smith, “Animating Bodies…,” p. 215.

[7] In: M. J. Jones, “Stelarc. Still Hanging Around,” http://www.conceptlab.com/coretext/2001a/cstage-stelarc.html. Elsewhere, however, he says: “I’d been trained as a sculptor.” See, J. Zylinska and G. Hall, “Probings: An Interview with Stelarc,” [in:] The Cyborg Experiments: The Extensions of the Body in the Media Age, ed. J. Zylinska, Continnum, London and New York 2002, p. 119.

[8] I have discussed this in detail elsewhere; cf. P. Zawojski, “Wprowadzenie. Bio-techno-logia czyli logos w świecie biologii i technologii” and “Rzeczywistość bio-techno-logiczna. Dylematy sztuki oraz kultury w epoce posthumanizmu i transhumanizmu,” [in:] Bio-techno-logiczny świat. Bio art oraz sztuka technonaukowa w czasach posthumanizmu i transhumanizmu, ed. P. Zawojski,  Szczecin 2014  [forthcoming].  

[9] W. Chyła, Media jako biotechnosystem. Zarys filozofii mediów, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, Poznań 2008, p. 292.  

[10] Ibid., p. 320.

[11] S. Lotringer, P. Virilio, The Accident of Art, Semiotext(e), New York 2005, p. 16.  For an interesting discussion of relationships between Paul Virilio and Stelarc, see Nicholas Zurgrugg, “Virilio, Stelarc and ‘Terminal’ Technoculture,” Theory, Culture & Society 1999, vol. 16, no 5-6, pp. 177-199.

[12] P. Virilio, S. Lotringer, Crepuscular Dawn, Semiotext(e), New York, 2002, p. 119. William Gibson is of an entirely opposite opinion, stating that “Stelarc’s art has never seemed futuristic to me.” William Gibson, “Forward: ‘The Body,’” [in:] Stelarc. The Monograph…, p. VII.

[13] Virilio Live. Selected Interviews, ed. J. Armitage, Sage Publications, London, Thoussand Oaks, New Delhi 2001, p. 43.

[14] P. Virilio, The Art of the Motor, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London 1995, p. 111. Writing on Stelarc once, I wondered whether his experimental performances wrought “destruction” upon the body or rather served to assist it. Cf. P. Zawojski, “Destrukcja versus wspomaganie ciała w cyberprzestrzeni. Przypadek Stelarca,” Kultura Współczesna 2000, no 1-2.

[15] See, J. Zylinska and G. Hall, Probings…, p. 117.

[16] J. Zylinska, Bioethics in the Age of New Media, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, London, 2009, p. 169. Elsewhere, Żylińska (with Sarah Kember), discussing Stiegler and Stelarc, state straightforwardly that both the technophilosopher and the artist expose a “symbiotic relationship the human has always had with technology and media.” S. Kember, J. Zylinska, Life after New Media. Mediation as a Vital Process, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, London 2012, p. 194.

[17] J. Zylinska, Bioethics…, p. 169.

[18] J. Zylinska and G. Hall, Probings…, p.  121.

[19] R. Farnell, “In Dialogue with „Posthuman Bodies”: Interview with Stelarc,” Body & Society 1999, no 5, p. 137.

[20] M. Dery, “Ritual Mechanics. Cybernetic Body Art,” [in:] The Cybercultures Reader, eds. D. Bell, B. M. Kennedy, Routledge, London, New York  2007, p. 579.

[21] Ibid., p. 578.

[22] Stelarc, “Detached Breath/Spinning Retina,” High Performance 1988, no 41-42, p. 70.

[23] G. Giannachi, Virtual Theatres, Routledge, London, New York 2004, p. 55.

[24] B. Massumi, “The Evolutionary Alchemy of Reason”, [in:] Idem: Parables for the Virtual. Movement, Affect, Sensation, Duke University Press, Durham, London 2002, p. 89.

[25] S. Kember, “Creative Evolution? The Quest of Life (On Mars),” http://www.culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/viewArticle/235/216. I cite this observation after J. Zylinska, Bioetics…, p. 171.

[26] G. Giannachi, Virtual Theatres…,  s. 61.

[27] Qtd. in C. Schaber, “Stelarc: Hard-Wired, Suspended and Contemplating the Post-Evolutionary Human,”

http://dailyuw.com/archive/1996/05/09/imported/stelarc-hard-wired-suspended-and-contemplating-post-evolutionary-human#.U85UxUCnquI

[28] K. A. Pearson, “Life Becoming Body: On The  „Meaning” of Posthuman Evolution,” Cultural Values 1999, vol. 1, no 2, p. 231.

[29] U. Eco with R. Rorty, J. Culler, and C. Brooke-Rose, Interpretation and Overinterpretation, ed. S. Collini, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York  2002, p. 52.

[30]  J. Zylinska and G. Hall, Probings…, p. 116.

[31] I discussed this issue in reference to Marina Abramović ‘s unusual, nearly three-month-long performance at New York’s MoMA in 2010. Cf. P. Zawojski, “Twarz Innej. Marina Abramović w MoMA,” Opcje 2013, no 4.

[32] Stelarc, “Prosthetics, Robotics and Remote Existence:  Postevolutionary Strategies,” Leonardo 1991, vol. 24, no 5.

[33] S. Sandall, “Performance Artist Stelarc Interviewed,” http://www.readersvoice.com/interviews/2003/04/performance-artist-stelarc-interviewed/

[34] Stelarc, “Prosthetics…,” p. 591.

[35] Currently only sparse archival material of the project can be accessed on the web. See, http://www.culture.com.au/metabody/index.html

[36] Stelarc, “Parasite Visions: Alternate, Intimate and Involuntary Experiences,” Technomorphica, 1997, retrieved from http://v2.nl/archive/articles/parasite-visions

[37] Ibid.

[38] Stelarc, “From Psycho-Body to Cyber-System: Image as Post-Human Entities,” [in:] The Cybercultures Reader….

[39] Stelarc, “Prosthetic Head. Intelligence, Awareness and Agency,” http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=490. For a detailed analysis of this project, see J. Clarke, “Stelarc’s Prosthetic Head,” http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=491

[40] Stelarc, “Prosthetic Head….”

[41] Stelarc, “The Cadaver, the Comatose & the Chimera: Alternative Anatomical Architectures,” http://stelarc.org/documents/StelarcLecture2009.pdf (2009), Stelarc, “Zombies & Cyborgs. The Cadaver, the Comatose & the Chimera,”  http://stelarc.org/documents/zombiesandcyborgs.pdf (2010?),  Stelarc, “Ciało w obiegu: śmierć, koma i chimera,” http://wro2011.wrocenter.pl/site/reader/stelarc_pl.pdf (2011).

[42] Stelarc, “Ciało w obiegu…” [The quotation in the translation comes from “The Cadaver, the Comatose & the Chimera: Alternate Anatomical Structures” accessed at  http://stelarc.org/?catID=20216 (translator’s note)].

[43] S. Sandall, “Performance Artist Stelarc…”

[44] Cf. M. Fernandes, “The Body Without Memory: An Interview with Stelarc,” http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=354

[45] M. Bakke, “Dlaczego masz trzecie ucho? Abyś ty mogła lepiej słyszeć!” http://www.obieg.pl/rozmowy/1561

[46] J. Hauser, “Stelarc: Extra Ear: Ear on Arm. Interview by Jens Hauser,” [in:] sk-Interfaces. Expoloding Borders – Creating Membranes in Art, Technology and Society, ed. J. Hauser, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, Chicago 2008, p. 105.

[47] L. Aceti, “Inverse Embodiment. Interview with Stelarc,” Leonardo Electronic Almanac 2011, vol. 17, no 1, p. 135.

[48] S. Cangiano, “Stelarc’s Extrabody: The Technologic Chimera,” http://www.digicult.it/digimag/issue-049/stelarcs-extrabody-the-technologic-chimera

[49] L. Aceti, “Inverse Embodiment…,” p. 133.

[50] R. Farnell, “In Dialogue with…”, p. 138.

[51] Cf. Miss M, “An Interview with Stelarc,” http://www.t0.or.at/stelarc/interview01.htm

[52] R. Linz, “An Interview with Stelarc, “ http://www.rainerlinz.net/NMA/repr/Stelarc_interview.html

[53] M. Donnarumma, “Fractal Flesh….”

[54] R. Linz, “An Interview….

[55] P. Aztori, K. Woolford, “Extended-Body. An Interview with Stelarc,” [in:] Digital Delirium, eds. A. and M. Kroker, New World Perspectives, CTheory Books, Montréal 2001, p. 196.

[56] N. Zurgrugg, “Virilio, Stelarc…,” p. 197.

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