Arts & Culture News

(NSFW) Stelarc Has an Ear in His Arm. Yes, an Ear in His Arm.

"People will become portals of Internet experience. For example, I might be able to hack into your body and listen to what you're hearing in Dallas while I'm in Melbourne. While simultaneously I might be seeing with someone's eyes in London, while someone in Tokyo might be remotely accessing and activating my arm. Increasingly, we'll have a much more distributed sensory experience of the world that won't be limited to the local space we inhabit." -- Stelarc

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Standing roughly 5-6 and dressed in all black, Stelarc stands out at this NorthPark-area Starbucks. It's partially because of his gentle Australian accent and leathery, brimmed hat. It's mostly due to the ear that was inserted and fused to the vascular region beneath the skin of his forearm, which he's showing me as he sips a soy latte.

The man seated next to us is visibly terrified.

It would be easy to make assumptions. To quickly label the Aussie performance artist a notoriety-seeker, but that simply isn't the case. He's soft-spoken, wildly introspective and passionate. Since the '60s he's been driven to create and explore the human form's usefulness, limits and architectural role in space. That trajectory spurs the next, which is shaking down Free Will; debunking any division between technological and physical realms; and fostering interaction that unites geographic divides.

Soon, this ear will be wired with a Wi-Fi-enabled microphone, so others may access his arm as a remote listening device. But really, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Stelarc is in town to hang five people by their skin and spin them slowly like human laundry. So let's start there.

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin