Stelarc ear on arm
An afternoon with Stelarc
posted by Erich Berger on 27 March 2018

The renowned artist Stelarc is visiting Helsinki and has agreed to spend an informal afternoon with us at Kuusipalaa .

16th of April 15h

Kolmas linja 7, 00530 Helsinki, Finland

Stelarc will start with a presentation ART IN THE LAB AND THE LANDSCAPE: Problematics and Possibilities after which we will have ample time for questions and discussion about the talk and his work and thinking in general before we had out for dinner together.

Stelarc explores alternate anatomical architectures, interrogating issues of agency, identity and the posthuman. He has performed with a Third Hand, a Stomach Sculpture and Exoskeleton, a 6-legged walking robot.  Fractal Flesh, Ping Body and Parasite are internet performances that explore remote and involuntary choreography. He is surgically constructing and stem-cell growing an ear on his arm that will be internet enabled. In 1996 he was made an 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 was awarded the Ars Electronica Hybrid Arts Prize. In 2015 he received the Australia Council’s Emerging and Experimental Arts Award. In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Ionian University, Corfu. Stelarc is currently a Distinguished Research Fellow, School of Design and Art, Curtin University. His artwork is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne.

ART IN THE LAB AND THE LANDSCAPE: Problematics and Possibilities

BioArt has been a highly mediated art form that is displayed through microscopes, as wall projections and with glass-ware installations. Cells are not directly visible and are contained in petri dishes or flasks. Often contamination of the living artwork occurs. The living, or more correctly termed, partially living artwork needs to be sustained in customized incubators and fed with nutrients. Until we can stem-cell grow or 3D print slimy, twitching terratoma-like objects that we can hold and caress, the aesthetic and visceral impact will remain diminished, in the realm of the concept and design rather than the materiality of the object. Another broader issue is that BioArt is under the umbrella of the art-as-research paradigm. The problem here is that it becomes an institutionalized authentication of arts practice validated by incorporating scientific lab protocols and practice. But BioArt has diversified and now also moved out of the lab into the landscape and away from the restrictive regulations of operating in institutions. The problematics of BioArt practice in labs are being bypassed for new possibilities elsewhere.

Image Ear on Arm by Nina Sellars

Stelarc's visit to Helsinki is supported by the University of the Arts Helsinki (Live Art and Performance Studies, MA in Ecology and Contemporary Performance, the Academy of Fine Arts), Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Bioart Society and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.