Ear on Arm
artist: Stelarc

Programmed by Tagny Duff

This video installation features documentation of the surgery and implantation of a “third ear” into Stelarc’s arm.

“I have always been intrigued about engineering a soft prosthesis using my own skin, as a permanent modification of the body architecture. The assumption being that if the body was altered it might mean adjusting its awareness. Engineering an alternate anatomical architecture, one that also performs telematically. Certainly what becomes important now is not merely the body’s identity, but its connectivity- not its mobility or location, but its interface. In these projects and performances, a prosthesis is not seen as a sign of lack but rather as a symptom of excess. As technology proliferates and microminiaturizes it becomes biocompatible in both scale and substance and is incorporated as a component of the body. These prosthetic attachments and implants are not simply replacements for a part of the body that has been traumatized or has been amputated. These are prosthetic objects that augment the body’s architecture, engineering extended operational systems of bodies and bits of bodies, spatially separated but electronically connected. Having constructed a Third Hand (actuated by EMG signals) and a Virtual Arm (driven by sensor gloves), there was a desire to engineer an additional ear (that would be speak to the person who came close to it). The project over the last 12 years has unfolded in several ways. The EXTRA EAR was first imaged as an ear on the side of the head. THE 1/4 SCALE EAR involved growing small replicas of my ear using living cells. And recently, THE EAR ON ARM which began the surgical construction of a full-sized ear on my forearm, one that would transmit the sounds it hears.”


see the brochure of this exhibition [pdf]

Stelarc is an Australian artist who has used prosthetics, robotics, VR systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He is interested in the evolutionary architecture of the body and possible ways of redesigning the human augmented by implants and exoskeletons.


Public lecture: Stelarc

Where: Oscar Peterson Hall, Loyola Campus
When: October 21, 6:30pm

Free and open to the public

Sponsored by Fluxmedia in partnership with Concordia and the Department of Communication Studies, Incubator Hybrid Lab at the Intersection of Art, Science and Ecology, University of Windsor, Elektra, NXI Gestatio, Hexagram/CIAM UQAM, Mobile Media Labs, Media Gallery, Hexagram Concordia Center for Research Creation, and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Thanks to Henry Lemmetti, Rene Lalonde, Leo Campagna and Roseline Lassonde, Alison Loader for technical support.
For additional information please call Tagny Duff at 514-848-2424 ext 2560

Listen a recording from this lecture
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Top Image: Nina Sellars
Lower image: David Jhave Johnston
Brochure design: Antonia Hernandez
Audio recording of lecture: David Jhave Johnston