Extreme body-artist Stelios Arcadiou – who has previously suspended himself from the ceiling using hooks in his flesh – is now planning to connect an ear, which has been growing on his arm, to the internet.
The BBC reports a miniature microphone, with wireless internet connection, will be inserted into the ear which was “partly surgically constructed and partly cell-grown”. It will enable people to listen to and track the artist’s movements through a GPS device placed on the body part.
Known as Stelarc, had the third ear created from cells in a lab in 2006.
“People’s reactions range from bemusement to bewilderment to curiosity, but you don’t really expect people to understand the art component of all of this,” Stelarc said.
“I guess I’ve always got something up my sleeve, but often my sleeve is rolled down.”
The ear is made of human cartilage. Stelarc, who is visiting professor at Brunel University School of Arts, took 10 years to find a surgeon willing to perform the operation. He uses medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality and the internet in his work.
“The ear is pretty much now a part of my arm, it’s fixed to my arm and it has its own blood supply,” he said.
The next step is to make the ear more three-dimensional — lifting it up off the arm and growing an ear lobe from Stelarc’s stem cells.
From there, a miniature microphone that can wirelessly connect to the internet will be inserted.
“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,” he said.
“They’ll be able to follow a conversation or hear the sounds of a concert, wherever I am, wherever you are.
“People will be able to track, through a GPS as well, where the ear is.”
Stelarc, who is the head of the Alternate Anatomies Laboratory at Curtin University, said the project was a sign of things to come.
“Increasingly now, people are becoming internet portals of experience … imagine if I could hear with the ears of someone in New York, imagine if I at the same time could see with the eyes of someone in London.”
STELARC EAR ON ARM VIDEO