"The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan"

Author: Orlan
Year: 1990 Edit Add
Book: Remediation

Some performance artists, such as Orlan, Stelarc, and the transsexual Kate Bornstein, combine the cultural rhetorics of cosmetic surgery and bodybuilding in an astonishing determination to remediate their bodies. Orlan turns her cosmetic surgeries into performances, which she directs under local anesthetic (Dery 1996,239-241; cf. Auslander 1997b, 126-140). Her surgeons are guided by digital composites made from faces of famous paintings. This procedure may or may not constitute a critique of Western notions of beauty, as Orlan claims, but it is certainly an act of double remediation, as she seeks to assimilate her body to the digital image, which is derived from classic paintings. She is reported to have said that she will stop her work only "when it is as close as possible to the computer composite" (Dery 1996, 240). In other words she is measuring her refashioning not against some "natural" ideal of beauty, but against a highly and overtly mediated representation.

Source type: picture
Info: ORLAN, «The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan», 1990 – 1993
Original size: 480x312 px. Edit
File type: video
Info: ORLAN, «The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan», 1990 – 1993
Original Url: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN1teX2xzh0
Edit Delete

"Amplified Body, Laser Eyes & Third Hand"

Author: Stelarc
Year: 1985 Edit Add
Book: Remediation

Stelarc's challenge is similar, as he refashions himself into Hara- way's cyborg. As Dery (1996) describes it, "His nearly naked body plastered with electrodes and trailing wires, the artist in performance bears a striking resemblance to a Borg, one of the implacable cyborg villains in Star Trek: The Next Generation. With his Amplified Body, Laser Eyes, Third Hand, Automatic Arm, and Video Shadow, he bodies forth the human-machine hybrid all of us are metaphorically becoming" (154). Stelarc explicitly sets out to embody McLuhan's noted assertion that media are extensions of the human senses (153-157). As Stelarc himself puts it, "It is no longer meaningful to see the body as a site for the psyche or the social but rather as a structure to be monitored and modified. The body not as a subject but as an object - NOT AS AN OBJECT OF DESIRE BUT AS AN OBJECT FOR DESIGNING" (cited by Dery 1996, 161). Finally, like Orlan and many other performance artists, Stelarc initiates or fosters elaborate media coverage of his acts of corporeal remediation.

Source type: picture
Info: Stelarc — Amplified Body, Laser Eyes & Third Hand (1985)
Original size: 806x1200 px. Edit