Digital Technologies in Art - Stelarc, Patricia Piccinini and Zaha Hadid

Essay by ashbash_the_awesomeHigh School, 12th gradeA, January 2008

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Since its advent, digital technology has impacted all aspects of our lives, from the environments around us to the way we think and act. Since art is fundamentally a product of its place and time, it is not surprising then, that this type of technology, like any other development, has changed art altogether. Newer and newer technologies have opened up new ways of approaching the creation of art, new materials to work with and new ideas to explore, among many other things. Stelarc and Patricia Piccinini are two contemporary artists who have incorporated technology and explored its impacts and developments through their artworks, and Zaha Hadid is a contemporary architect who utilises technology to design and construct her buildings.

Stelios Arcadiou, a.k.a. Stelarc, is primarily a contemporary performance artist, but is as much a philosopher or social theorist. He has performed a range of works involving machinery in some way, usually being attached to him in the form of appendages, such as with his Third Hand (various performances), or via a cable hook up such as in Ping Body (first performed 1996).

Stelarc’s work deals mainly with the relationship of the human body and technology, or the fusion of ‘meat’ and the ‘machine’. He sees technology as having always been “an appendage of the body” in terms of its function as an extension of the senses. He develops his work in regard to the idea that “the body is obsolete” ; that is, the development of science and technology has outstripped the capability of our own anatomical functions. Rather than pursue the ergonomic adaptation of technology to suit our construction, or even the full extra-body immersion of humanity into cyberspace, Stelarc is a strong proponent of the view that the only way forward is the full amalgamation of both meat...