Stelarc

On August 14, 2012, in News, Presenters, Summit, by Adam Ford

Stelarc (born Stelios Arcadiou, but legally changed his name in 1972) is a Cypriot-Australian performance artist whose works focuses heavily on extending the capabilities of the human body. As such, most of his pieces are centred around his concept that the human body is obsolete. Until 2007 he held the position of Principal Research Fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. He is currently a visiting Professor in the School of Arts at Brunel University, West London.

Stelarc’s idiosyncratic performances often involve robotics or other relatively modern technology integrated with his body somehow. In 26 different performances he has suspended himself in flesh hook suspension, often with one of his robotic inventions integrated. His (seemingly) last suspension performance was held in Melbourne in March 2012. In another performance he allows his body to be controlled remotely by electronic muscle stimulators connected to the internet. He has also performed with a robotic third arm, and a pneumatic spider-like six-legged walking machine which sits the user in the centre of the legs and allows them to control the machine through arm gestures.

In 2007, Stelarc had a cell-cultivated ear surgically attached to his left arm.

In 2005, MIT Press published Stelarc: The Monograph which is the first extensive study of Stelarc’s prolific work. It includes images of performances and interviews with several writers including William Gibson, who recount their meetings with Stelarc.

Awards and honors

  • In 1995 Stelarc was awarded a three year fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts.
  • In 1997 Carnegie Mellon University appointed him Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics.
  • In 1998 he was artist-in-residence for the city of Hamburg, Germany.
  • In 2000 Monash University awarded him an Honorary Degree of Laws.
  • In March, 2003, at Ohio State University, he completed an artist-in-residence program.
  • In 2008 he was appointed as Senior Research Fellow and Artist-in-Residence, MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, Australia.
  • In 2010 Stelarc received the prestigious Ars Electronica Golden Nica in the category “Hybrid Art”, Linz, Austria.

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