“Event for Amplified Body, Automatic Arm and Third Arm” by Stelarc

  • ©1990, , Event for Amplified Body, Automatic Arm and Third Arm
  • ©1990, , Event for Amplified Body, Automatic Arm and Third Arm
  • ©1990, , Event for Amplified Body, Automatic Arm and Third Arm


    Event for Amplified Body, Automatic Arm and Third Arm

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Creation Year:


Artist Statement:

    Body processes amplified include brainwaves (EEG), muscles (EMG), heartbeat (ECG), pulse (Plethysmogram) and bloodflow (Doppler Flow Meter). Other transducers and sensors monitor limb motion and indicate body posture. The sound field is configured by buzzing, warbling, clicking, thumping, beeping and whooshing sounds – of triggered, random, repetitive and rhythmic sounds.

    The artificial hand, attached to the right arm as an addition rather than a prosthetic replacement, is capable of independent motion, being activated by the EMG signals of the abdominal and leg muscles. It has a pinch-release, grasp-release, 290? wrist rotation (C.W. and C.C.W.) and a tactile feedback system for a rudimentary “sense of touch.”

    Whilst the body activates its extra manipulator, the real left arm is remote controlled-jerked into action by 2 muscle stimulaters. Electrodes positioned on the flexor muscles and biceps curl the fingers inwards, bend the wrist and thrust the arm upwards. The triggering of the arm motions pace the performance and the stimulater signals are used as sound sources as are the motor sounds of the Third Hand mechanism.

Process Information:

    Sounds: A. Body signals amplified

    1. EEG (brainwaves, frontal lobe)
    2. EMG (muscles, right leg)
    3. EMG (muscles, left leg)
    4. ECG (heartbeat)
    5. Doppler Flow Meter (blood flow, radial artery)

    B. Body Sensors
    1. Mercury Switch on left-arm (white noise when arm is raised)
    2. Mercury Switch on right leg (bending generates thumping sound)
    3. Mercury Switch on head (tilting head triggers EEG)

    C. Third Hand
    Contact microphone monitoring motor motion


    1. Strobe – single flash per minute
    2. Floor Spots – random sequences activated by ECG
    3. Light Globe Grid – random sequences activated by arm ECG
    4. Head Light Array – 4 channels sequenced by leg EMG
    5. Laser Eyes – beams transmitted via optic fibre cable and collimating lenses


    A. Third Hand – grasp/pinch/290 degree wrist motion activated by abdominal and lesg muscles
    B. Left Arm – remote controlled by two muscle stimulators (involuntary motion predetermined by electrode placement)

Other Information:

    Stelarc is artist-in-residence at Ballarat University College and the Visual Arts/Craft Board, Australia Council.


    Sound and lighting installation: Simon Glas, Arthur Elsenaar, Rene de Groot, Warner H. Epping
    Thanks to: Erik Bijl, Fokke van der Veer, Wim and Heidi van der Plas, Douwe Buiter
    Equipment: Department of Physics, Swinburne Institute of Technology; RHG Music department for Visual Arts (Academie Minerva)



All Works by the Performer(s) in This Archive: