stelarc

STELARC… completely unfinished thoughts—anyway, here we go:

When the concept of ‘structure’ suddenly burst into anthropology and replaced ‘pattern’, Alfred Kroeber (1876-1960) derogatory commented that this was merely an interchanging of words—old wine in new bottles. He was wrong, because it meant more. Namely a change of perspectives in anthropology. Same is true for ‘ethnic’ and ‘ethnicity’ replacing ‘tribe’ and ‘culture’ in the mid-1970s. (Cohen 1978: 379-380, 384-385) In other words: This vocabulary is a portal to the understanding of the history, or even the culture of anthropology itself.

In 1994 anthropologist Arturo Escobar stigmatised words like ‘cyberspace’ as misnomers—he only uses the term ‘cyberculture’ as an element of analysis due to the widespread acceptance of the prefix ‘cyber-‘. (1994:211, fn. I.)
But in my view there indeed is something behind the prefix ‘cyber-‘. The widespread acceptance of it is an indirect hint towards that something.

When Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) launched the study of control and communications—which became (as far as I understand especially in the soviet union) control theory as it is applied to complex systems—he coined the term cybernetics and called his book: Cybernetics: or, Control and communication in the animal and the machine (Wiener 1948)

In the attempts to fuse technological artefacts with human and other biological organisms, with human society, and with the socioecologically shaped environment, all the mentioned elements are envisioned as cybernetic systems. Tentatively speaking: cyberculture always comprises the more or less tacit paradigm of envisioning at least parts of the empirical world as cybernetic systems. And this envisionment does not come to a grinding halt when dealing with the human body. Attaching a modern prosthesis to a human body demands to envision both as cybernetic systems.

Now meet STELARC, “an Australian-based performance artist whose work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human-machine interfaces incorporating medical imaging, prosthetics, robotics, VR systems and the Internet. The interest is in alternate, intimate and involuntary experiences.”

“Moving requires feedback loops of sensory and perceptual data that coordinates the articulation of the jointed body. Performing with machine attachments and implants, performing with manipulators and locomoters augments and extends the body’s capabilities and disrupts its habitual sense of position/ orientation in the space that it occupies and between points that it navigates.” (Stelarc Articles)
tnx to h-man8 for the hint to STELARC

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