20:26 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Ear on Arm

    Pion-ear-ing Performance Artist Grafts Extra Ear Onto His Arm

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    Asia & Pacific
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    A performance artist from Perth had the ear implanted so that he can stream the sounds of his everyday life to listeners over the internet.

    Perth-based performance artist and university professor Stelarc has embarked on a project to implant an ear with internet access into his arm, so that users can listen to his life over the internet.

    The ear is constructed from scaffolding that was inserted under his skin, and developed tissue and blood vessels within six months of the operation. The ear now has its own blood supply, and Stelarc says it will soon be home to a miniature microphone, which will continuously broadcast his movements.

    "This ear is not for me, I've got two good ears to hear with. This ear is a remote listening device for people in other places," says Stelarc, who promises that for as long as he is in a wi-fi hotspot, people anywhere in the world will be able to listen to what he is doing.

    Though the Cyprus-born professor first thought up the idea 1996, he was unable to make it a reality until 2007, when he found a team of surgeons willing to carry out the operation. The next task for the medical team is to raise the ear up from the arm to make it more 3D, and use Stelarc's own stem cells to grow it an ear lobe. 

    Stelarc described the motivation for his performances as "a general curiosity about what's possible, what's plausible, what pushes the boundaries, determining for example the psychological and physiological parameters of the body."

    "We are increasingly expected to perform in mixed realities. We are still biological bodies, but increasingly we are accelerated by our machines, we are enhanced by our instruments, our computational capabilities are amplified with new technologies."

    "So the body can be seen as a construct, of meat, metal and code."

    Prior to the Ear on Arm performance, Stelarc, who is head of the Alternate Anatomies Laboratory at Curtin University, had already pulled off a number of projects with prosthetics and robotics.

    His previous artistic exploits include performances with a third hand, an extending sculpture inserted into his stomach, a prosthetic head, and a naked suspension performance over New York's East 11th Street, when his body was suspended halfway across the street out of a fourth story window before he was arrested by police.


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