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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Extra Ear (Stelarc)Virtual Arm (Stelarc)Ping Body (Stelarc), 1996
Fractal Flesh (Stelarc)

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was, it was unable to provide access to mythical, prehistorical, natural experience. In the recent past, exponents of a notion of the performative shaped by Judith Butler's gender theory have included Marie-Luise Angerer, who notes that «the performance is essentially the movement (of bodies and signifying processes), that drives on the spectacle or event.»[68] She also concludes that «in the performance the body [must] be allocated an autonomy that precedes the intentionally acting individual.» The body— be it somebody else's, one's own, or a collective body—speaks; and language, as we know, is a social convention. Under these premises, even the apparently spectacular and voyeuristic performances of Vanessa Beecroft become complexly coded anti-spectacles.

Intervention in the body of the other

Vanessa Beecroft demonstrates how the serial aspect of our identity construction nevertheless produces subtle, coded differences. Yet her artistic concept is comparable with the one-way communication of television—which is, of course, her main target. In


either case, one sender informs many receivers. Things start to get interesting when artists like Stelarc reverse the perspective, with the result that numerous senders «inform» one receiver. The body becomes a syntopic location or, put differently: One's own body becomes, also in telematic terms, the other's field of action.[69] Stelarc provides the paradigmatic conclusion of this essay insofar as his development as an artist illustrates the path from confronting the real body with its own limits to cyber-utopian experiments with dislocated bodies. One of the first to use medical visualization techniques for art purposes, in the early 1970s Stelarc began to «penetrate» and film his own body with the aid of electronic tools. «Probing» and «piercing» are also the terms he uses to describe these early films of the inside of his body. He subsequently became famous with his «Suspension » performances, which were directly in line with the body art tradition. His next step, however, was to extend and enhance the body through physical and virtual extensions like the «Third Ear,» «Virtual Arm» or similar. In «Ping Body» and «Fractal Flesh,» he aspires to a «human-machine symbiosis» that is literally

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