IN VIVO - IN VITRO
Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) | Eduardo Kac | Stelarc | Joe Davis | Karl Sims | Eva Sutton | Daniel Lee | Susan Alexjander | Polona Tratnik | IN VIVO - IN VITRO
A HUMANOID AND A SEMI-LIVING SCULPTURE
by Stelarc and TC&A
1. PROSTHETIC HEAD
Interactive digital document of the Prosthetic Head
The PROSTHETIC HEAD project is a 3D avatar head, a conversational system which can be said to be only as intelligent as the person who is interrogating it. There is an attempt to make the Prosthetic Head more creative in its responses. It has embedded algorithms that enable it to generate novel poetry and singing each time it is asked.
When you ask the Head a question, it scans its data-base and responds
by real-time lip syncing its response.
As Stelarc says : “The PROSTHETIC HEAD is a pathological, philosophical or simply a flirting head. A problem would arise though when the PROSTHETIC HEAD increases its database, becoming more autonomous in its responses. The artist would then no longer be able to take full responsibility for what his head says.”
The PROSTHETIC HEAD has been shown at New Territories, Glasgow 2003; The ICA, London 2003; InterAccess, Toronto 2003; and at TRANSFIGURE 2004.
2. THE ¼ SCALE EAR
by Stelarc and TC&A (Tissue Culture and Art ProjectT)
Documentation of a semi-living sculpture (wearable prosthesis)
The 1/4 SCALE EAR explores the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression. The artists use tissue engineering techniques for the creation of Semi-Living entities. These are parts of complex organisms which are sustained alive, proliferate outside the body and are coerced to grow in predetermined shapes. These evocative objects are a tangible example of a new kind of object-being.
The project represents a recognizable human part and is meant to be ultimately attached to the body as a soft prosthesis. However it is being presented as partial life and brings into question the notions of the wholeness of the body. It also confronts society's cultural perceptions of life with the increasing ability to manipulate living systems. Tissue Culture & Art are dealing with the ethical and perceptual issues stemming from the realization that living tissue can be sustained, grown and is able to function outside of the body. The prosthesis is now a partial life form - partly constructed and partly alive.
There have been three 1/4 Scale Ear installations done with TC&AP:
-Galerija Kapelica, 13-20 May 2003, Ljubljana, Slovenia
-The Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, 19 September-23 November 2003, Ian Potter, NGV, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
-The National Review of Live Arts (NRLA), 24 October 2003, Powerhouse, Midlands, WA, Australia.
- The Biotech Era, Feb-March 2004, Art in Adelaide International Arts Festival.
The project was realized in collaboration with SymbioticA, at the University of Western Australia, in Perth and with Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr of the the Tissue Culture and Art Project
Stelarc (Stelios Arkadiou) is an Australian artist who has performed extensively in Japan, Europe and the USA- including new music, dance festivals and experimental theatre. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems and the Internet to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body.
According to him, “The significant event in our evolutionary history was a change in the mode of locomotion. Future developments will occur with a change of skin. If we could engineer a SYNTHETIC SKIN which could absorb oxygen directly through its pores and could efficiently convert light into chemical nutrients, we could radically redesign the body, eliminating many of its redundant systems and malfunctioning organs - minimising toxin build-up in its chemistry. THE HOLLOW BODY WOULD BE A BETTER HOST FOR TECHNOLOGICAL COMPONENTS”
Stelarc is Visiting Professor at School of Art and Design (The Nottingham Trent University Nottingham, UK.), and Adjunct Professor at School of Contemporary Art (Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.)
TC&A (ORON CATTS & IONAT ZURR)
The Tissue Culture & Art Project (initiated in 1996), is an on-going research and development project into the use of tissue technologies as a medium for artistic expression.Oron Catts is a tissue engineering artist and Ionat Zurr is a Wet Biology Art Practitioner. As they note in their “short Manifesto”: (…)We are interested in the new discourses and new ethics/epistemologies that surround issues of partial life and the contestable future scenarios they are offering us.”