LIMITS OF THE BODY #1

Today, among my readings, I read about Stelarc, a performance artist who has extended and amplified his body using prosthetics, robotics, a series of medical, virtual reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore new ways of interaction between his body and the world.

stelarc

Artist Stelarc performing using THIRD HAND at Maki Gallery, Tokyo in 1982.

One of Stelarc’s probably most known work is THIRD ARM, a mechanical human-like, capable of independent motion hand that is attached to his right arm. About his project, Stelarc states:

With my Third Hand if I am writing one word with three hands this seems to point to an additional capability. On the other hand of course it is also a constraint. You know there is an extra weight on my right arm; my two eyes don’t always follow what my three hands are trying to do. So when I construct an interface I don’t see it in either a utopian or dystopian way.

Here is an interview of the artist and here is WIRED magazine’s article about Stelarc.

Stelarc’s work is a paradigm of artificial bodily extension in a framework of research that has been developing rapidly during the last decades, producing a series of projects among various disciplines, including architecture.

How do wearable hardware, mechanical devices and virtual reality systems affect our perception of the material world?

Can we talk about limits of the body as we see them getting modified and extended, involving both humans and non-humans?

This is a discussion I will definitely come back to.

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