Stelarc: The Monograph

Overview

Stelarc is the most celebrated artist in the world working within technology and the visual arts. He is both an artist and a phenomenon, using his body as medium and exhibition space. Working in the interface between the body and the machine, employing virtual reality, robotics, medical instruments, prosthetics,and the Internet, Stelarc's art includes physical acts that don't always look survivable — or, as science fiction novelist William Gibson puts it in his foreword, "sometimes seem to include the possibility...

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Overview

Stelarc is the most celebrated artist in the world working within technology and the visual arts. He is both an artist and a phenomenon, using his body as medium and exhibition space. Working in the interface between the body and the machine, employing virtual reality, robotics, medical instruments, prosthetics,and the Internet, Stelarc's art includes physical acts that don't always look survivable — or, as science fiction novelist William Gibson puts it in his foreword, "sometimes seem to include the possibility of terminality."Stelarc's projects include Third Hand, a grasping and wrist rotating mechanism with a rudimentary sense of touch that is attached to the artist and activated by EMG from other body areas; Amplified Body, in which the artist performs acoustically with his brainwaves, muscles, pulse, and blood flow signals; and the Stomach Sculpture, a device — or "aesthetic adornment" — placed in the artist's stomach and presented through video. Works in progress include the Extra Ear Project, a soft prosthesis of skin and cartilage to be constructed on the artist's arm. Stelarc's work both reflects and determines new directions in performance art and body art. Although there have been hundreds of articles written about Stelarc since he began performing in the late 1960s, Stelarc: The Monograph is the first comprehensive study of Stelarc's work practice in over thirty years. Gathering a range of writers who approach the work from a variety of perspectives, it includes William Gibson's account of his meetings with Stelarc, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker's emphatic "WE ARE ALL STELARCS NOW," and Stelarc himself in conversation with Marquard Smith.

Taken together, these writers give us a multiplicity of ways to think about Stelarc.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Edited by Smith (art history, Kingston Univ., London; editor in chief, Journal of Visual Culture) and with a foreword by sf novelist William Gibson, this illustrated monograph on Australian-based performance artist Stelarc offers a multiplicity of critical perspectives, drawing from disciplines as varied as art history, cultural studies, technology studies, literary studies, and the social sciences. For Stelarc, the body is a structure, an object one might want to redesign, a biological apparatus that fundamentally determines our perception of the world. His performances have employed elements that include a third-hand device donned by the artist and a multilimbed, exoskeleton walking machine. At their core is an effort to understand what adaptations the body may need to make in order to function in an environment increasingly organized around faster and more powerful technologies. His works aren't practical suggestions but efforts to provoke viewers into thinking about technological progress, human evolution, the individual psyche, society, and culture. For graduate students and scholars, this title will be valuable for its insights into Stelarc's work in particular and to the study of technology and performance in general.-Michael Dashkin, Qualcomm, San Diego Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marquard Smith is Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture,University of Westminster, London. He is a Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Visual Culture.

William Gibson is the author of many books, including Neuromancer and, most recently, Pattern Recognition.

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Table of Contents

Foreword : "the body"
Preface : the conception of Stelarc : the monograph
1 The will to evolve 1
2 An itinerary and five excursions 33
3 We are all Stelarcs now 63
4 Stelarc's technological "transcendence"/Stelarc's wet body : the insistent return of the flesh 87
5 The evolutionary alchemy of reason 125
6 A sensorial act of replication 193
7 Animating bodies, mobilizing technologies : Stelarc in conversation 215
Time line : projects and performances 243
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