Excess, extrusion & indifference: from physical to phantom flesh, STELARC

The body is a contemporary chimera of meat, metal and code. Of modified biology that is accelerated by metal with a speed and precision that far exceeds its metabolic, muscular and sensory capabilities, extended in cognition with computational systems. The body’s micro-biome becomes contaminated by viral algorithms and digital entities. The body now navigates from nano scales to virtual spaces and increasingly functions as phantom flesh. Online, heads are electronically amputated and hands are rewired for machines elsewhere. Bodies become portals for people in other places. Online, we flicker on and off as if glitches in evolutionary time. The body increasingly oscillates between its physical form and its online phantom. This oscillation is the quickening that coupled with optical thickening fuses the physical with its phantom. We live in an age of the thickening when images become digital objects, when phantoms proliferate, when phantoms become phantom limbs.


Stelarc, Extended Arm at Scott Livesey Galleries. Photographer - Dean Winter