Born in Limassol on the island of Cyprus and raised in Melbourne, Stelarc (1946-) is an internationally acclaimed performance artist. Since the late 1960s his practice has incorporated bodily interventions and extensions including prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality and biotechnology. In bringing together art, science and technology, Stelarc’s work engineers and experiments with body architectures, probing the physical limits of human experience.
Stelarc’s more than 40-year career has included 25 body suspension performances and three films made on the inside of his body. He has performed with a Third hand, an Extended Arm, a Virtual Arm, a Stomach Sculpture and Exoskeleton, a 6-legged walking robot. His Fractal Flesh, Ping Body and Parasite performances explored involuntary, remote and internet choreography of the body with electrical stimulation of the muscles. His Prosthetic Head is an embodied conversational agent that speaks to the person who interrogates it. He has surgically constructed an Extra Ear on his arm that will ultimately be internet enabled, making it a publicly accessible acoustical organ for people in other places. [i] Propel, Re-Wired / Re-Mixed and StickMan are projects and performances that also explore human-machine and online interface.
In his latest work, presented by the Art Gallery South Australia for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, Stelarc collaborated with Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) and College of Science and Engineering, as well as Adelaide-based leaders in engineering and innovation FESTO Australia and Ternay Pty Ltd to create Reclining StickMan, one of his most ambitious projects to-date. STELARC: Posthuman Bodies enriches the context of this major collaboration by presenting an insight into the artist’s speculative and groundbreaking practice from the 1970s to the present day.