Stelios Arkadiou is a performance artist who produces theatre involving cyberspace. Stelios, formally known as Stelarc, creates theatre using body movement combined with cyberspace. Stelarc therefore combines body flesh and technology to create another performing art form. Stelarc took this performance one step further by providing touch screen muscle stimulation, where he was “programmed directly either by spectator present at his event or by those thousands of kilometres away, moving him electronically via internet” (Allian 2006, P. 71). This meant audience members were able to electronically control Stelarc’s body movement within his contemporary performance pieces. This meant that his body was connected to the internet source and controlled by electrical charges stimulating the muscles. In terms of our multi-media performance, our group was influenced by the way in which Stelarc uses electronically stimulated equipment wrapped around his body which highlights a form of costume. As our performance is based on social networking and internet resources we felt we wanted to explore Stelarc and how controlling the internet is for his performances. In terms of his Muscle Stimulator System performances, Stelarc needs a spectator to be present to control his body. Therefore each performance is unique as Stelarc is unaware how the audience member is going to control his body. One particular highlight from research into Stelarc’s performances was the way in which he looked on stage. Within room 2 in our Tokyo performance, we are using a cast member to play a computer sound system which pops up to promote a sound system which interrupts our performance. Although we do not have a spectator directly generate the actor, we wanted to create an illusion that the actor was the hidden computer sound system performing outside the computer. Therefore Stelarc was a great influence in terms of costume as he is all wired up as though a walking computer system.
Within Stelar’s Third Hand performance, He uses a robotic hand attached to his body which himself and others can control. “Third Hand is a capable and touch-sensitive mechanical hand, built in size and structure to match the artist’s right hand. The robotic prosthesis attaches to Stelarc’s right arm and is controlled by signals sent by electrodes from various muscles in his body” (Smith, 2010) Our group were influenced by the way in which all the wires were built around his body. This become clear that another function was controlling the way in which he was being moved. Therefore we felt this use of costume would help us portray to the spectator that our character is computer generated.
Smith,K (2010) Profile: Stelarc. Available at: http://www.artpractical.com/profile/stelarc/ (Accessed- 6/2/2012)
These pictures show Stelarc within his Exoskeleton. I found these particularly interesting as it seems a human is presence but portraying another life form or creature. As a Group we decided that we were going to take Stelarc as a costume influence for our representation as a computer sound programme. This meant we were going to use wires, lights and electronic tubes to create a costume which would be of similar value to Stelarc. We feel this use of costume would help our spectators understand are social networking cyber space intentions and would provide an impact on the spectator as they would become intrigued by the actor’s role.
As a group, we were also highly influenced by the way in which the audience controlled stelarc’s performances. Within Stelarc’s performances the spectator’s program the body movement to for Stelarc to perform. Within our rehearsal process we decided to reflect how important spectator participation was within our piece. We decided that within Room Two of Tokyo we would let the audience choose what music was going to be played on our sound system. This was pre-organised as the invite let the spectator write down their favourite song. Before the show we randomly selected invites and placed the chosen spectators name on our playlist. Therefore spectators were involved within our piece by pre-organising our sound system. We felt this would welcome our spectators into the performance as they become more involved.
Lastly we explored Stelarc’s use of body movement when he was being electronically charged. This helped us within the last scene where our social network profile become shut down. We wanted to perform movement which represented out electronic profile being deleted therefore expanding into cyberspace. Within the rehearsal process we improvised after watching Stelarc’s performances. This helped us to understand and reflect the importance of sharp muscle impulse to portray our social network programme being deleted.
Altogether Stelarc was a strong influence for our performance as he informed us how effective audience participation is within our piece. Stelarc also helped our rehearsal process were we explore different ways to introduce internet media within our piece.
Allian,P (2006) The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, Oxon.
Palamarchuk,Y (2009) Arts and Science in the Post-Biological Age. Available at: http://videodoc.ncca-kaliningrad.ru/participants/iii-shining-prostheses/stelarc-australia/ ( Accessed: 06/02/12).
Ostos,D (2011) Circulating Flesh: The Cadaver, the comatose and the chimera. Available as: http://aainter3.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/stelarc-lecture/ ( Accessed : 06/02/12).
By Christie Asplin.