From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stelarc showing his third ear at the Warwick University in 2011
Stelios Arcadiou

1946 (age 76–77)
Known forPerformance art

Stelarc (born Στέλιος Αρκαδίου Stelios Arcadiou in Limassol in 1946; legally changed his name in 1972) is a Cyprus-born Australian performance artist raised in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine,[1] whose works focus heavily on extending the capabilities of the human body. As such, most of his pieces are centered on his concept that "the human body is obsolete". Until 2007 he held the position of principal research fellow in the Performance Arts Digital Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. He is currently furthering his research at Curtin University in Western Australia.


Parasite: Event for Invaded and Involuntary Body, at the 1997 Ars Electronica Festival
Stelarc at the Concordia University, Canada, in 2010

Stelarc's idiosyncratic performances often involve robotics or other relatively modern technology integrated with his body. In 26 different performances he has suspended himself in flesh hook suspension, often with one of his robotic inventions integrated. His last suspension performance was held in Melbourne in March 2012.

In another performance he allowed his body to be controlled remotely by electronic muscle stimulators connected to the internet. He has also performed with a robotic third arm, and a pneumatic spider-like six-legged walking machine which sits the user in the center of the legs and allows them to control the machine through arm gestures.

In 2020, a work by Stelarc entitled Reclining Stickman, a robot sculpture operated by the artist, featured in the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA).[2][3] However, AGSA had to temporarily close from 25 March 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, so some of the exhibits are being shown online, along with virtual tours of the exhibition. Stelarc performed with his sculpture in real time, as well as making the videorecording available.[4]

Third ear[edit]

In 2007, Stelarc had a cell-cultivated ear surgically attached to his left arm.[5] His longtime collaborator, fellow Australian artist Nina Sellars, photographed this body modification for her piece Oblique: Images from Stelarc's Extra Ear Surgery. Pieces by both artists were included in a group exhibition that received an exhibition review in scientific journal BMJ.[6]


In 2005, MIT Press published Stelarc: The Monograph which is the first extensive study of Stelarc's prolific work. It includes images of performances and interviews with several writers including William Gibson, who recount their meetings with Stelarc.[7] In 2016 book on Robots and Art [8] Stelarc reflected on his own work in a chapter titled "Encounters, Anecdotes and Insights—Prosthetics, Robotics and Art".

Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In defence of Sunshine: Surprising facts you may not know about Melbourne's sunny suburb". Herald Sun. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  2. ^ Keen, Suzie (6 September 2019). "Monster 2020 Adelaide Biennial set to create a buzz". InDaily. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  3. ^ Marsh, Walter (6 September 2019). "Monster Theatres: 2020 Adelaide Biennial artists revealed". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  4. ^ "AGSA temporarily closes its doors to the public alongside SA cultural institutions". AGSA - The Art Gallery of South Australia. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  5. ^ Performer gets third ear for artBBC News. 11 October 2007
  6. ^ Carter, S. (10 August 2011). "The emergence of art-science". BMJ. 343 (aug10 3): d5133. doi:10.1136/bmj.d5133. S2CID 59092528.
  7. ^ Smith, Marquard and Clarke, Julie Joy (2005) Stelarc: The Monograph. MIT Press. ISBN 0262195186
  8. ^ Herath, D. and Kroos, C., 2016. Robots and Art: Exploring an Unlikely Symbiosis. Springer. ISBN 978-981-10-0321-9
  9. ^ Paris, Helen (27 May 2004). Guerilla Guide to Performance Art : How to Make a Living as an Artist. Continuum International Pub. Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-7398-1. OCLC 697643312.
  10. ^ "Stelarc - SensiLab: Excess & Indifference: Alternate Anatomical Architecture". 27 March 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Prosthetic Head | InterAccess". 20 March 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  12. ^ GOLDEN NICAS & GRANT 2010 Archived 25 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine Ars Electronica

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]