chapter  39
6 Pages

The will to evolve; Jane Goodall

ByJANE GOODALL

Stelarc’s work as a performance artist has run in parallel with a process of commentary in which he elaborates on the themes and purposes underlying his experiments: “I’ve from very early on held the view that we’ve always been prosthetic bodies. Ever since we evolved from hominids . . . we’ve constructed artifacts, amplifications of the body. It’s part of what we are as a human species.”1 The word always runs as a leitmotif in the commentaries, the themes of which have not changed radically in the last twenty years. Stelarc’s Web site maintains the archive of his texts and performances as a composite work in progress. Preoccupied as he is with the obsolescence of the human body, there is no sense that former stages of his own work ever become obsolete to him. The key concepts underlying it are all current. An interest in human evolution has remained a constant focus throughout his career, as has a view that we have brought ourselves to an evolutionary crisis point by generating a technological environment to which we cannot effectively adapt as a purely biological species.