Performance with Technology

Extending the Instrument—From Prosthetic to Aesthetic

Authored by: Simon Emmerson

The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138780613
eBook ISBN: 9781315770567
Adobe ISBN: 9781317672777


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The term “prosthetic” usually refers to artificial limbs that replace the functions of what is missing. There are some medical uses of the term—reverting to the Greek via Latin origins meaning “an addition”—that hint at “enhancement” and “extension,” and in the performing arts and music this implication is more common. The work of performance artist Stelarc, for example, is consistently described as “prosthetic” (see as are other musical research projects concerning the extension of the performer’s physical range of performance practice (Emmerson 2009).

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