1. SKIN: SURFACE/SELF. As surface, skin was once the beginning of the world and simultaneously the boundary of the self. What senses the world also becomes the means by which the body becomes inscribed. But now stretched and penetrated by machines, SKIN IS NO LONGER THE SMOOTH, SENSUOUS SURFACE OF A SITE OR A SCREEN. Skin no longer signifies closure. The rupture of surface and of skin means the erasure of inner and outer. THE SHEDDING OF SKIN…
2. INTENTION: INSERTION. To position an art work inside the body. An electronic structure in an internal tract. The body becomes HOLLOW, with no meaningful distinction between public, private and physiological spaces. Technology invades and functions within the body NOT AS A
PROSTHETIC REPLACEMENT, BUT AS AN AESTHETIC ADORNMENT. As a body, one no longer looks at art, does not perform as art, but contains art. THE HOLLOW BODY BECOMES A HOST, NOT FOR A SELF OR SOUL, BUT SIMPLY FOR A SCULPTURE.
3. STRUCTURE: MOTIONS/FUNCTIONS. Fabricated with IMPLANT QUALITY metals such as titanium, stainless steel, silver and gold, the sculpture is a domed capsule shell containing a worm-screw and linkmechanism. It is actuated by a flexidrive cable connected to a servomotor and controlled by a logic circuit. The capsule opens and closes in three sections EXTENDING and RETRACTING. An instrument array light and piezo buzzer make the sculpture self-illuminating and sound-emitting.
4. PROCEDURE: PROBE/EXTRACT. The stomach was emptied by withholding food for about 8 hours prior to insertion. The closed capsule, with beeping sound and flashing light activated, was swallowed and guided down tethered to its flexidrive cable to the control box outside the body. ONCE INSERTED INTO THE STOMACH, AN ENDOSCOPE WAS USED TO INFLATE THE
STOMACH AND TO SUCK OUT EXCESS BODY FLUIDS. The sculpture was then arrayed with switches on the control box. Documentation was done using video endoscopy equipment. Even with a stomach pump, excess saliva was still a problem, necessitating hasty removal of all probes on several occasions…
5. SPECULATION: INTERNAL/INVISIBLE. It is time to recolonise the body with MICROMINIATURISED ROBOTS to augment our bacterial population, to assist our
immunological system and to monitor the capillary and internal tracts of the body. There is a necessity for the body to possess and INTERNAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM. The internal environment of the body would contour the microbots behaviour, thereby activating particular tasks. Temperature, blood chemistry, the softness or hardness of tissue and the presence of obstacles in tracts could all be primary indications of problems that would signal microbots into
action. The biocompatibility of technology is not due to its substance but to its scale. SPECK-SIZED ROBOTS ARE EASILY SWALLOWED AND MAY NOT EVEN BE SENSED! At a nanotechnological level, machines will navigate and inhabit cellular spaces and manipulate molecular structures.
- Stelarc is a performance artist who is interested in alternate aesthetic strategies. He has used medical, robot and Virtual Reality systems to extend the body’s performance parameters. As well as his Third Hand, Virtual Arm and Stomach Sculpture projects, he is
presently working on a touch-screen computer interface for an 8-channel muscle simulator. A system to enable the physical interaction of remote bodies. A kind of cyber voodoo…