ESSAY: STELARC, b.1946, Sherman Galleries (prev. Irving Galleries)
Stelarc was born in Cyprus 1946. His parents emigrated to Melbourne when he was a child. He has lived in Japan since 1970. A performance artist, Stelarc has been engaged in various investigations of the body involving an awareness and testing of physiological processes and endurance as well as more recent technological extensions of its capabilities.
He has visually probed and acoustically amplified various functions of his body, and undergone sensory deprivation and physical stress situations in his performances, the most well known and dramatic of which have been the 25 body suspensions with load-bearing strings attached to hooks inserted into the skin that he has performed in various sites and situations around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane.
During the 1980s, beginning with the 'Third hand' project and combining this with other technological elements, Stelarc has demonstrated even further possibilities. At electronic arts festivals around the world, he has performed events for 'Amplified body', 'Laser eyes' and 'Third hand'. A performance using a 'Video shadow', 'Automatic arm' and 'Third hand' — in which the body interactively controls and choreographs its own video image — was staged during Experimenta for Modern Image Makers Association in 1990 and at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 1991.
Accompanying the research and demonstrations of such possible workings of the body, Stelarc has consistently articulated a theoretical position on the body as the site of human experience in a changing world order, one most directly affected by the incursion of new technologies.