Stelarc: Stomach Sculpture, Hollow Body, Host Space

  • ©, Stelarc, Stomach Sculpture, Hollow Body, Host Space


    Stomach Sculpture, Hollow Body, Host Space

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    1. SKIN: Surface/Self. As surface, skin was once the beginning of the world and simultaneously the boundary of the self. What senses the world also becomes the means by which the body becomes inscribed. But now stretched and penetrated by machines, skin is no longer the smooth, sensuous surface of a site or a screen. Skin no longer signifies closure. The rupture of surface and of skin means the erasure of inner and outer. The shedding of skin…

    2. INTENTION: Insertion. To position an art work inside the body. An electronic structure in an internal tract. The body becomes hollow, with no meaningful distinction between public, private and physiological spaces. Technology invades and functions within the body not as a
    prosthetic replacement, but as an aesthetic adornment. As a body, one no longer looks at art, does not perform as art, but contains art. The hollow body becomes a host, not for a self or soul, but simply for a sculpture.

    3. STRUCTURE: Motions/Functions. Fabricated with implant quality metals such as titanium, stainless steel, silver and gold, the sculpture is a domed capsule shell containing a worm-screw and link mechanism. It is actuated by a flexi-drive cable connected to a servomotor and controlled by a logic circuit. The capsule opens and closes in three sections extending and retracting. An instrument array light and piezo buzzer make the sculpture self-illuminating and sound-emitting.

    4. PROCEDURE: Probe/Extract. The stomach was emptied by withholding food for about 8 hours prior to insertion. The closed capsule, with beeping sound and flashing light activated,  was swallowed and guided down tethered to its flexi-drive cable to the control box outside the body. once inserted into the stomach, an endoscope was used to inflate the stomach and to suck out excess body fluids. The sculpture was then arrayed with switches on the control box. Documentation was done using video endoscopy equipment. Even with a stomach pump, excess saliva was still a problem, necessitating hasty removal of all probes on several occasions…

    5. SPECULATION: Internal/Invisible. It is time to recolonize the body with  micro-miniaturized robots to augment our bacterial population, to assist our immunological system and to monitor the capillary and internal tracts of the body. There is a necessity for the body to possess and internal Surveillance system. The internal environment of the body would contour the microbots behavior, thereby activating particular tasks. Temperature, blood chemistry, the softness or hardness of tissue and the presence of obstacles in tracts could all be primary indications of problems that would signal microbots into action. The biocompatibility of technology is not due to its substance but to its scale. Speck-sized robots are easily swallowed and may not even be sensed! At a nanotechnological level, machines will navigate and inhabit cellular spaces and manipulate molecular structures.