Since 2003, the artist Stelarc has been working on his Ear on Arm project, which involves implanting a prosthetic ear in his left arm encasing a microphone with an Internet link up, allowing him to communicate with the world. According to him, this modification is a vision of his body as “an extended operational system – extruding its awareness and experience. The body now performs beyond the boundaries of its skin and beyond the local space that it occupies.” Throughout this process, Stelarc has had to deal with the responses of his body, which rejected the implant and also the microphone, which had to be removed after a severe infection. The human body is still the most difficult border to cross in the gradual insertion of technological devices into all the aspects of our existence.
Recently, the artist Anthony Antonellis introduced a project that also expands the operations of his body through a technological implant. Net Art Implant consists of an NFC chip (Near Field Communication, a technology used in mobiles that allows radio communication over very short distances) that the artist has inserted into the back of his left hand, between the index finger and thumb. The chip acts the storage device for a 1K file, which currently contains an animated gif. This image can be seen when moving a smartphone, tablet or other device close to Antonellis’ hand. The chip requires no battery since it is fed by the magnetic field generated by the reader in the device in which the file is displayed. The artist plans to offer this storage space on his body for other artists to host other works in GIF, JPEG, MIDI or ASCII format and is developing an app for Android that will allow the contents of the chip to be seen and a new file uploaded.