This man has grown an ear on his arm and is sharing his life online

Stelarc and his third ear. Image: Nina Sellars

The performance artist Stelarc is looking for finance to develop the next stage of a long term project — creating a third ear on his arm.

Stelarc, born Stelios Arcadiou, already has a strong outline of an ear on his arm but needs to get his stem cells harvested and grown the right way to create a proper lobe.

“It’s really part of my arm now. It’s going nowhere,” says the Perth-based professor who heads Curtin University’s Alternate Anatomies Laboratory.

The aim is to embed a tiny microphone in the ear and connect it to the web so anyone can tune in at any time to listen to what’s happening in his life.

The two operations to create the ear were done in Los Angeles by a team of three surgeons in 2006. A microphone was inserted but this became infected and had to be removed.

“There were some infection problems and the ear had to be bedded down,” he told Business Insider. “It got increasingly better defined and now we’re ready to do the next procedures.”

The current ear shape is built around a scaffolding. The shape now has its own blood supply. In short, it’s a living part of him.

Next he wants to raise the ear off the arm, giving it more definition and adding a fleshy lobe.

Then comes the microphone and the internet connection. He’ll have to go somewhere without WiFi to go offline, and regain privacy.

He’s found a stem cell specialist, to grow the lobe, and a plastic surgeon who will do the procedures in Spain.

“I’ve got two good ears to hear with, I don’t need this extra ear,” he says. “It’s actually a remote listening device for people in other places. If you’re in Perth and I’m in London you will be able to listen to what my ear is hearing.”

The surgeon will lift the ear to create an ear flap. And then electronics are added so that the ear becomes internet enabled.

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