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I Swear I Don't Even HAVE Photoshop.

Ear

And so even if I'd wanted to, I couldn't have fabricated that picture.  What in tarnation is going on here, you ask?  I'll tell you on the other side of the jump.

That is Stelarc, an Australian performance artist.  And he actually went looking - for years, according to him - for a doctor who would put that ear on his arm.  Many people would have extra ears removed, particularly from their forearms, but not this guy.  He says it's art - an "augmentation of the body's form."  He's thinking about getting a microphone for it.  (I continue not to be making this up as I go along.)

Stelarc seems like an ... interesting dude, generally.  His website says he is an "...artist who incorporates themes of cyborgization and other human-machine interfaces in his work."  For instance, there's this, which I tried to make sense of and got a bit of a headache.  He believes that the human body is obsolete.  Which I guess makes his grafting of an ear onto his arm make a certain kind of sense?

But is it art?  And is it okay?  Not according to Sasha Gardner, a model who was born missing an ear.  She says of Stelarc's surgery, "This is not something people should be using as an expression of art. It shows a lack of understanding."  Francis Wells, a surgeon, says he wouldn't condemn Stelarc for this, but "[t]here are a lot of people who have lost an ear in an accident who cannot easily have that ear replaced. This type of reconstruction is expensive."

My opinion?  I won't bother weighing in on what is art or what isn't art, because that's always a ridiculous endeavor.  But what did resonate with me was Wells's statement about the expense.  I'm sure there's an argument to be had about whether people should be able to do what they will with their money.  However, and not to get too soapboxy up in here, I do find it sort of unsettling that this guy can run about procuring extra ears for his forearms while people who have a medical need for reconstructive surgery can't get it. It seems like a strange use of resources all around.

source, source, source







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Comments

Sils

It's probably wrong that my first thought was, "I really need a closer look at that..."

kr

it can not actually hear can it?

disnazzio

kr, according to the BBC, "The ear does not function, but he hopes to have a microphone implanted to allow others to listen to what his extra ear picks up."

I am so confused.

Elle

That is just plain nasty!! But it would be cool if he could hear out of it...wait nevermind...

Joel

I'm totally getting eyeballs in my calves.

justzoot

and artists wonder why people immediately assume they are weird...

Julie

Wow. My son was born with the same birth defect as the "offended" person mentioned in your first source. He was born with no ear on one side and we had it reconstructed. I'm not offended by his art at all. Just interested and think it's a bit odd.

disnazzio

Joel, I'm afraid I have to veto that.

Jenn T.

Did anyone else think that was Peter Boyle on first glance?




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