We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Prosthetic head




Cyprus, Australia

1946 –

No image
  • Details

    Media categories
    Installation , Time-based art
    Materials used
    single channel interactive software program, projection, colour, sound
    display dimensions variable
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated Certificate of authenticity lower c., black fibre-tipped pen "Stelarc ... 17/08/05".
    Signed DVD, silver fibre-tipped pen ".../ Stelarc.".

    Gift of Brian and Gene Sherman 2021. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Stelarc
    Artist information

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘The Prosthetic Head is a conversational system – a 3D computer- generated head that somewhat resembles the artist and responds to the person who interrogates it. You might say it’s only as intelligent as the person who speaks to it [laughs]. It’s not supposed to illustrate some kind of disembodied intelligence. Rather, it exposes the problems associated with notions of awareness, intelligence, agency, and embodiment. Of course, thee Prosthetic head is massively embodied with all the technology that is required to present and operate it effectively. With the assistance of three programmers in San Francisco (Karen Marcello, Sam Trychin, and Barrett Fox), we stitched together software that included a text-to-speech engine, the source code for facial animation, and a customised Alice chatbot. Over the next few years, the Head will become more informed and less predictable in its responses. In fact, the artist will not be able to take full responsibility for what his head says [laughs]. And imagine if this Head has biorhythm mapped to its expressions. So it might be grumpy answering questions in the morning, happy to talk to you at midday, but getting tired in the late afternoon. And we are thinking to give the Head information of the user through vision system. So the Head might comment on the colour of your sweater or query why you are looking so glum. It would be more seductive interface with that kind of knowledge. The Head is not illustrating a Cartesian split between mind and body, but rather it exposes the problematics of this kind of discourse. In fact, what’s important now is not the problem of split mind and brain but rather of splitting the body itself and of the body-species split that will result in new post-evolutionary phylums’

    Stelarc quoted in Stelarc: the monograph, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005, pp 230-32

Other works by Stelarc