Mechanical choreographies of an “Evolutionary alchemist” : Stelarc’s Techno body and multimedia performancePart of : Γράμμα : περιοδικό θεωρίας και κριτικής ; Vol.11, No.1, 2003, pages 67-78
Bodies wrestling with representation
In this paper, attention is paid to the mixture of revulsion and appeal that Stelarc's body performances evoke. Their reliance on the staging of numerous events of penetration, piercing and suspension, facilitated by electronic and virtual technologies, underlines the flexibility and endurance of the human body form. However, the limitations that such practices impose on bodies and technologies alike highlight the ambivalence that such performative acts generate. In the present reading of Stelarc's multimedia projects, an evaluation and criticism of the technological practices he adopts for the construction of a technologically and biologically augmented human form is provided. The body-engineering and corporeal-mutation practices that Stelarc employs foreground the tendency of contemporary art to move beyond the confines of the staged theatrical performance to more challenging but self-inflicting mediums of representation. Although the success of his performances relies on the benevolence and cooperative nature of his body's shape and structure, it still remains to be seen whether the interface between the human and the technological can be sustained.