ROBOTRONIKA - hypermatic:automagic
19 - 23 June 1998 Museumsquartier, Vienna/Austria

Stelarc, AUS
"Psycho/Cyber: Involuntary Body, Third Hand And Scanning Robot"
Friday, June 20, 8 p.m., Halle H
The performance explores involuntary, improvised and programmed motion. The body's movements are actuated by a computer interfaced muscle stimulation system. 0-60 volts contract the deltoids, biceps, flexors, hamstring and calf muscles, choreographing its limb motions. At the same time the body is able to control its third hand with electrodes positioned on its unstimulated right leg. The ABB IRB 6400 robot is programmed to scan and rotate around the body, counterpointing the involuntary and improvised motion. Cameras positioned above, in front of and attached to the robot arm construct a surveillance system for the performance. Tilt sensors on the body allow it to be the video switcher and mixer. Flexor, pressure, proximity and accelerometer sensors monitor and measure finger and limb position and velocity generating an acoustical analogue of what is witnessed. The sounds of the robot motors and the third hand are amplified using contact microphones...

The involuntary but augmented and still intuitive and improvising body performs within the task envelope of a robot that functions with seductive precision, power and speed. This hybrid meshing constructs an image multiplication and manipulation system of human and machine feedback loops...

Stelarc is a performance artist who is interested in alternate aesthetic strategies. He has used medical, robot and virtual reality systems to explore, extend and enhance the body's performance parameters. In the past he has acoustically and visually probed the body - amplifying his brainwaves, heartbeat, bloodflow and muscle signals and filming the inside of his lungs, stomach and colon.

Having experimented with the limitations of the body, he has developed strategies to augment its capabilities, interfacing the body with prosthetics and computer technologies. He has performed extensively in overseas art events, including new music, dance festivals and experimental theatre.


Pictures from the performance