The people at Symbiotica have to follow very rigorous ethics protocols – they form part of the school of Anatomy and Human Biology at UWA – http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/ and have to meet all the ethics requirements of any other research program.   What interests me about their work is the excision of arbitrary boundaries on knowledge – something we are so good at enforcing in schools!! 
 
I think Stelarc’s work is fascinating and he actually hasn’t created cyborgs – all his work have been external attachments – Kevin Warwick, a computer expert, in the UK seems to be the first to have actually implanted into his nervous system.  Stelarcs’s work is barely a step beyond on Lego Robocup, to my mind. I hope to meet with both of them later this year when I chair a Special Interest Group at the IDEA World Congress in Ottawa.
 
I’m always fascinated by responses to art.  So many of the greatest discoveries have been made as a result of a sense of aesthetics rather than pure logic and rationality.  Many people judge art by their own visceral responses rather than engaging in an explorative process.  I’m reminded of Willie Shakespeare’s words

There is nothing in this world either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

However in schools there seems to be a desire to homogenise and sanitise explorations.  Art is a dirty business in every sense of the word. 
 
I’ve heard of high-school students who have incorporated bodily fluids, excised flesh and other corporeal elements into their work – is that really any more disconcerting than expressing emotions or describing their experiences in artistic form?  If students want to explore and experiment with work like Stelarc’s should we discourage them?  On what grounds?  I love watching parents and staff at art exhibitions when they encounter the work of genuinely artistic students – you can see them getting physically unsettled.  So much more comfortable to just look at pretty, easily identifiable, representational forms.  Someone who can draw and sketch accurately isn’t necessarily an artist, but they appease the powers that be with their safe practice!
 
Arts practice always challenges premature “closure” – we all learned about “encapsulation” during our Education studies – yet it seems to be pervasive and savagely enforced in faculty structures in schools.  Comprehensive cross-disciplinary thinking seems to be actively discouraged in most schools I’ve worked in.  Art is also good at disrupting prejudgement, and concepts of normality.
 
I love the way such art work demands that I readjust my blinkers and see the world through diferent filters – it stops me from thinking there is any truth in myths of “consistency” and “actuality”.  The world is most often very uncertain – why should I try to pretend otherwise?  Simply to accommodate other people’s delusions of security.
 
And yes, the preceding is full of hyperbole intended to provoke…

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