It’s gruesomely fascinating and strangely beautiful, but is an ear on an arm art?
Stelarc, the award-winning Australian performance artist who has grown a third ear on his arm for art’s sake, believes it is. And as he pursues further surgeries to install a Wi-Fi connected microphone that will allow people anywhere in the world to listen to what he hears, he hopes he can convince others of his vision.
“It’s when art is surprising that it becomes interesting,” Stelarc, told CNN. “Because it’s generating that anxiety, that uncertainty and that ambivalence and reaction that makes the body re-examine the world.”
Part surgical, part human, Stelarc’s ear was first constructed using a frame made out of biocompatible material that’s commonly used in plastic surgery. Once securely transplanted into his arm, the artist’s own tissue and blood vessels morphed with the material and the ear is now a living, feeling, functioning part of his body.
Although it can’t yet hear, Stelarc now plans to use his own stem cells to develop a proper external ear lobe before implanting a Wi-Fi enabled microphone. Once connected, this microphone will be permanently activated so people across the globe will be able to ‘tune in’ to him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This ear is not for me, I’ve got two good ears to hear with. So wherever you are and wherever I am in the world you’ll be able to listen in to what my ear is hearing,” he said.
“I never imagined this having an on-off switch,” he added. “For me the project is not interesting until the ear is electronically augmented.”
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.