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, 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 As such, most of his pieces are centered on his concept that “the human body is obsolete”.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). 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.