Bionic man

RENOWNED techno-biological performance artist Stelarc has chosen Maylands for his latest exhibition, again probing at the boundaries between human and machine.

The Cyprus-born artist’s previous projects exploring “contestable futures” have often involved blurring the lines between the body and robotics: He’s worn a robotic third hand, allowed people to remotely control his arms via the internet, and he’s widely known for having an unnervingly realistic ear surgically grafted to his left forearm (with plans to install a miniature microphone in it and broadcast everything it hears over the internet for anyone to listen in).

• Stelarc and his Stickman. Photo by Steve Berrick

• Stelarc and his Stickman. Photo by Steve Berrick

A distinguished research fellow at Curtin’s School of Design & Art, his latest project Stickman will see him strapped to a custom-framed robotic exoskeleton that will control his movement for five hours, robbing him of his free will to move. He says its’ “very different” from the experimental exoskeletons that militaries are currently experimenting with. Those giant suits read inputs from the “pilot” and magnify their strength, allowing the wearer to lift massive amounts. Instead, this robot will be controlling him, controlled by a computer algorithm that’ll be feeding unknown inputs to control the pneumatic pistons that send his limbs dancing.

The robot won’t be dancing to the music, but making it: The industrial sounds from the pistons will be amplified through the room to create a mechanical cacophony, with each movement having an accompanying sound.

The Stickman is a part of a collaboration with other Hellenic-Australian artists for Fringeworld’s The Daedalus Project.

Along with Stelarc’s robotic performance, the multi-venue symposium features Ioannis Michaloudis, the first artist to be chosen by NASA to have a human-made sculpture placed on the moon. Local artists Victoria Holessis, Chris Cobilis, Renee Doropoulos, Masonic, Steve Paraskos and Petros Vouris also contribute sculptures, sound installation, video, photography and textile works.

It’s on at four venues strewn through Maylands from February 3 to 17, and times are on the http://www.fringeworld.com.au website or the Facebook page The Daedalus Project.

by DAVID BELL

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