For 10th November’s Sci-art class, we are asked to bring any drawing/writing material. Coming from a creative and artist background I was excited thinking that we might get to do something creative and fun. With this idea, I took some craft papers, colour pens, n glue to the class.
In class, we were introduced to the work of an artist by the name Stelarc who grew an ear on his arm. I felt ghostly looking at the ear on his arm. And later on, we were asked to interpret and react to Stelarc’s work in our own ways as a part of the class activity.
Stelarc is an extreme performance artist who uses his body as a canvas to paint his artworks. Most of his works whirl around his concept that “the human body is obsolete”. He’s known for his works from a third robotic arm, a stomach sculpture, 6-legged walking robot, flesh-hook suspensions, prosthetic head to organ (ear) transplant surgeries.
THE THIRD EAR – the ear on his forearm
The third ear is a permanent transplant done on Stelarc’s arm, fixed into his own tissue, veins and blood vessels. It is more or less a functional ear just like our own natural ears.
Stelarc’s next step is to insert a microphone under the skin of his third ear, so the world can tune in and listen to him at any point of time – just like a radio. His idea is to let the people (who wish to) listen to his life and the things around him. All that you need is an internet connection to tune into Stelarc’s life and listen to him.
“You don’t really expect people to understand the art component of all of this. This ear is not for me, I’ve got two good ears to hear with. This ear is a remote listening device for people in other places.” – (Stelarc, 2015) https://news.artnet.com/art-world/artist-stelarc-grows-third-ear-324745
Further on in the class, we as a group of 5 tried to understand and interpret the work – the third ear. Each one of us had different views and ways of understanding this rare and unusual work by Stelarc. We all thought, what if the reason behind this ear being transplanted on Stelarc’s forearm was not to let the people tune in and listen to Stelarc’s life but the ear was there for him to speak to it and hear his own self?
Each organ in a human body has its own purpose and identity. It is said that a human body by default is designed in such a way that it is symmetrical and equally balanced. But what would happen if we try to break the natural anatomy of the human body and make changes to it as per our wish and needs?
To reflect on this thought and to understand how a body might look if we changed its orientation, we created an artwork with the help of materials that we had bought to class.
The final result of this activity was a haphazard fashioned human portrait with mismatched organs of different sizes. Our other fellow students and tutor Sam did like the idea as to how we interpreted and reacted to Stelarc’s third ear.
But the outcome of this activity, left me thinking what was the need for Stelarc to grow a third ear on his forearm? How will would this device serve his as a communicating device? What would happen to the world, how would people look like and what would be the effects on the society if we everyone was able to modify the innate us or self?
STELARC (no date) PROJECTS. Available at: http://stelarc.org/?catID=20232 (Accessed: 10 November 2016).
Cascone, S. (2015) Artist grows Third ear – artnet news. Available at: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/artist-stelarc-grows-third-ear-324745 (Accessed: 2 December 2016).
Bembridge, C. (2015) Perth man grows ear on his arm for art. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-11/perth-artist-grows-ear-on-his-arm-plans-to-connect-to-internet/6689794 (Accessed: 2 December 2016).