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Stelarc «Extra Ear»
Stelarc, «Extra Ear»
1999 | © Stelarc


«Extra Ear»

What characterises all the projects and performances is the notion of the prosthetic. The prosthesis seen not as a sign of lack, but as a symptom of excess. Rather than replacing a missing or malfunctioning part of the body, these interfaces and devices augment or amplify the body’s form and functions. The «THIRD HAND» (technology attached), the «STOMACH SCULPTURE» (technology inserted) and «EXOSKELETON» (technology extending) are different approaches to prosthetic augmentation. The EXTRA EAR is a soft prosthesis, constructed not out of hard materials and technologies, but out of soft tissue and flexible cartilage. This would not be simply a wearable prosthesis, but one constructed on the body using its skin and cartilage as a permanent addition. The surgical techniques for ear reconstruction have been developed, so this is a plausible project. The difficulty is finding the appropriate medical assistance to realise it. Since 1997, there were several instances where doctors initially expressed interest in assisting, but then changed their minds. The problem is that it goes beyond mere Cosmetic Surgery. It is not simply about the modifying or the adjusting of existing anatomical features (now sanctioned in our society), but rather what’s perceived as the more monstrous pursuit of constructing an additional feature that conjures up either some congenital defect, an extreme body modification or even perhaps a radical genetic intervention.