Extracts from recordings made in Sydney and Melbourne, 1992, transcribed onto a wax cylinder in March 2009.
Stelarc is a performance artist who has visually probed and electronically amplified his body. He has made three films of the inside of his body. Between 1976-1988 he completed 25 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body.
He has performed with a Third Hand, a Virtual Arm, a Stomach Sculpture and Exoskeleton, a 6-legged walking robot. His Fractal Flesh, Ping Body and Parasite performances explored involuntary, remote and internet choreography of the body with electrical stimulation of the muscles. His Prosthetic Head is an embodied conversational agent that speaks to the person who interrogates it. He is surgically constructing an Extra Ear on his arm that will be internet enabled, making it a publicly accessible acoustical organ for people in other places. He is presently performing as his avatar from his Second Life site.
The original recordings heard on this cylinder were made by composer and sound artist Rainer Linz who has collaborated with Stelarc since 1987. The sounds include brain waves, heartbeat and blood flow. The noises made by Stelarc’s third mechanical hand are also amplified. Both artists discuss aspects of sound creation for the amplified body performances in this interview.
For this wax cylinder recording, I superimposed extracts from two separate Amplified Body soundtracks by inscribing two spiral grooves onto the same cylinder in order to capture all the recorded body functions in a unique manner. I used a black dictation cylinder from the 1920s with a lightly pitted surface giving a crackly texture to the recording and an original Edison Recorder from the 1890s.