“Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world...” – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (1964)
Stelarc website link -
Stelarc - Body suspensions book link
Third Hand link -
at Lawndale July 5, 1984
Suspension nuts link -
I don't know how things happened at Lawndale. They just did. It was hard to stop anything. Moira Kelly, the newly appointed director and recent England transplant, wasn't sure how to, and I, her assigned graduate assistant, was not inclined to. Almost anything that came knocking was allowed in, so to speak. This attitude was the over-arching philosophy of "yes" handed down by Surls. Nothing could stop Lawndale except itself, which it eventually did later. Surls set the thing in motion, but others drove it, many of us taking turns at the wheel, often simultaneously, mostly temporarily, tugging in different directions of self interest. In the same mysteriously chaotically controlled way, Stelarc showed up at Lawndale in the summer of 1984 to present a lecture on his work.
Stelarc, an Australian who was then living in Japan, was in the United States on his way to New York to stage another of this body suspension performances, which by then, had caused enough of a sensation such that he was fairly notorious, if not famous, at least in the avant-garde art world. I was somewhat familiar with his work through various stories in alternative publications and was excited to meet him.
High Performance, Issue #24, 1983 (front and back covers); Obsolete Body/Suspensions/Stelarc (cover) 1984. Collection the author.
Initially, I wasn't sure why he was in Houston. Unless it was for flight connections, it seemed like an odd stop-over between Japan and New York.