Stelarc: Issues of Time and Technique

Meredith Rogers
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In Stelarc’s work the artist’s material body and its component parts are manipulated and modified in a range of ways to produce the art. This has a visceral impact that sometimes appears to be entirely divergent from the artist’s specified intentions for it.

I will argue that over time, Stelarc’s work has undergone a transformation from the representation of a heroic, resistant body, the durability of which is celebrated within the frame of the natural world (as in many of the Events for Stretched Skin such as By the Seashore); to work in which anxieties over the body’s inability to deal with conditions imagined in an apocalyptic/evolutionary future are foregrounded in his quest for dispersal and reconfiguration of the body through the merging of flesh and technology. Further, this change is driven by developments in the artist’s materials and techniques rather than by changes in the artist’s philosophical position, which in any case has remained remarkably constant at its center.

Such a reading of the work is frequently concealed by the feedback loop in which its critical reception is incorporated and appropriated by the artist in his own textual explanations or amplifications of the work. This process seems to quarantine the work from the kind of visceral apprehension and interpretation that its material genesis would otherwise make inevitable. One of the effects of this critical containment, in which the artist collaborates, is to place the work in an environment that is oddly stripped of allusion: to disengage the experience of the work from its interpretation.

Keywords: Stelarc, Material, Time, Technique
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Meredith Rogers

Lecturer, Theatre and Drama Program,
School of Communications, Arts and Critical Enquiry,
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University


After five years working with Kiffy Rubbo at the Ewing and George Paton Galleries, Meredith returned to theatre. She joined the innovative Mill Community Theatre as actor and general manager in 1979 and in 1981 she was a founding member of the Home Cooking Theatre Co. companies. At different times Meredith acted, designed directed and produced for the company, one of only two professional feminist theatre companies in Australia. Home Cooking’s show about Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor toured widely. Their play Running Up A Dress by Suzanne Spunner was presented in the first Melbourne Festival season in 1986 and was still touring for the Brisbane Expo theatre season in 1988.
Meredith’s theatre credits are extensive and include a number of award winning shows. She received the Ewa Czajor Memorial Award in 2002 and in 2003 she directed and designed Breath by Breath by Peta Tait and Matra Robertson which was nominated for the Green Room Best Fringe Production award that year.
She teaches theatre and performance making at La Trobe University where she has been a member of the Theatre and Drama program for more than ten years.
One of her current research projects concerns the transformational relationship between actors and objects on stage.

Ref: H06P0142