As some of you may know I have a stall at the Melbourne Arts centre Sunday Market. Last weekend was the re-opening of Hamer Hall (part of the Arts Centre) – which has been getting renovated for quite a few months now – and the Melbourne council had lots of crowd drawing activities happening on the day. The following slideshow shows some performing artists dressed in soft sculpture body parts suits. They wandered around the Melbourne arts precinct, approaching people and generally doing funny stuff. Watching the reaction of people was priceless – some laughed, some were scared, some were grossed out!!
Stelarc is an Australian internationally known performance artist who performed at the Lorne Sculpture show this year. His performance was based around his Ear On Arm project, a project which has evolved over the past decade. Stelarc has grafted a replicate ear on his left forearm, which will eventually be able to hear and respond. More information about his project can be found here: http://stelarc.org/?catID=20242
Much of Stelarc’s past work has centered around “the body”… its use, how it can or cannot be modified, bodily identity, what the body can or cannot withstand and similar such themes.
I enjoyed this performance. From my perspective Stelarc’s laying on an oversized sculpture of his “Ear on Arm” and being painted with white clay slip, enabled him to merge with the sculpture, signifying his becoming ‘one’ with the decade long project, which has been problematic at times… finally his identity merged with the altered , yet (in the future) functional ear on arm: a mutual acceptance.
But are there larger societal questions at stake here? The introduced ear is foreign to the arm… it doesn’t belong… it looks “different”, “funny”…yet Stelarc presents a scenario where each accepts the other, but under what conditions? A passive merging … a homogenisation? In the context of globalisation such questioning of acceptance, on personal, social, economic and political levels, are crucial. This is now evident with the mass revolutionary movements that are occurring worldwide.
But I will get off my soapbox now & just say that it was great to see so many families wandering around the show on the weekend, because the young kids that are getting exposed to wide and varied art at a young age will be those revolutionary thinkers of the future… we hope!! (oops, soapboxing again!!) Enjoy the slideshow!!