A performance artist and professor in Perth, Australia, always has something up his sleeve: An ear.
For the last nine years, the artist known only as Stelarc has been growing a third ear on his left arm, all in the name of art.
“As a performance artist I am particularly interested in that idea of the post-human, that idea of the cyborg,” he said, according to CNN. “What it means to be human will not be determined any longer merely by your biological structure but perhaps also determined largely by all of the technology that’s plugged or inserted into you.”
Stelarc, who was born Stelios Arcadiou but changed his name 45 years ago, first thought about getting an extra ear in 1996. However, he couldn’t find any surgeons willing to hear him out until 2006.
The extra ear was made from a scaffold of biocompatible material commonly used in plastic surgery. Stelarc originally thought of putting it behind one of his real ears, but chose to have it transplanted in the arm where the skin could stretch without requiring the prosthetic to be inflated, according to his website.
Stelarc’s own tissue and blood vessels developed around the ear scaffold within six months. He says the arm ear is now permanently part of his body.
The next step he said is to make the ear look more realistic by making a lobe from his stem cells. Then Stelarc wants to embed a miniature microphone that would be connected to the Internet,reports.
“This ear is not for me, I’ve got two good ears to hear with. This ear is a remote listening device for people in other places,” he told the network. “They’ll be able to follow a conversation or hear the sounds of a concert, wherever I am, wherever you are. People will be able to track, through a GPS as well, where the ear is.”