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Stelarc; Meat, Metal and Code: The Uncanny, the Creepy and the Contestable

16 March 2016 | 14:00

Art and The Body Meet Technology As Never Before: The Faculties of Technology and Creative and Cultural Industries are excited to announce a visit to the University of Portsmouth by award winning Stelarc, performance artist and distinguished Research Fellow and Professor in the School of Design and Art, Curtin University in Australia.

In Stelarc’s words: “The body has become a contemporary chimera of biology, technology and data. In an age of body hacking, gene mapping, prosthetic augmentation, organ swapping, face transplants, gender reassignments, artifical intelligence and artificial life, what it means to be other and what generates aliveness and affect becomes problematic. This is a time of Circulating Flesh, Fractal Flesh and Phantom Flesh. A time of extreme absence and alien experience. Of bodies performing in remote spaces with split physiologies and multiple agencies, where bodies are simultaneously possessed and performing. Being neither one nor the other, being neither here nor there, but partly present and mostly absent. Subjectively, the body now experiences itself as a more extruded system, rather than an enclosed structure. Bodies are inadequate, empty, involuntary, and absent to their agency. We are living in an age of excess and indifference. Of prosthetic augmentation and extended operational systems. In a time of Zombies, Cyborgs, Hybrids and Humanoids, the uncanny and the creepy proliferate. The self becomes situated beyond the skin. It is partly through this extrusion that the body becomes empty. But this radical emptiness is not through a lack but rather through excess, an excess of information. Flesh becomes data, populating electronic and internet spaces.”

Stelarc is renowned for his interventions with, and extensions of, his own body through various technological methods and devices including currently developing a ‘third ear’ on his arm. This special talk and Q&A promises to be an insight into the possibilities of technology’s interface with the human body hardly imagined or attempted before.

Stelarc is an artist who performs with prosthetics and robotics and virtual systems. His projects include a Third Hand, a 6-legged Exoskeleton robot, an Extended Arm with 11degrees-of-freedom, and a Prosthetic Head, which is an embodied conversational agent. Stelarc explores alternate anatomical architectures. He is presently surgically constructing and stem-cell growing an ear on his arm which will be internet enabled. In 1996 he was appointed Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and in 2002 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Monash University, Melbourne. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Ars Electronica Hybrid Arts Prize. In 2013 he initiated and was director of the Alternate Anatomies Lab for 2 years. In 2015 he received the Australia Council’s award of Outstanding Achievement in Emerging and Experimental Art. He is presently Distinguished Research Fellow, School of Design and Art (SODA), Curtin University, Perth. His artwork is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne.

This talk is open to staff and students at the University of Portsmouth only. Please book your place on Eventbrite to avoid disappointment.


16 March 2016
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Richmond Building
Portland Street
Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 3DE United Kingdom

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