četvrtak, 25. veljače 2016.

Broersen & Lukács - Mastering Bambi (2010)

Još malo erasure poetike: Disneyev Bambi iz kojeg su izrezane sve životinje.

As the title suggests, in Mastering Bambi (2010), Broersen & Lukács have re-created scenes from the 1942 Disney film Bambi, leaving out imagery of the famous deer and his assortment of animal friends. Their cinematic reconstruction is entirely scenic. Cascading waterfalls, towering trees and ominous skies evoke a pleasurable terror akin to romantic paintings of the sublime. The absence of any living creatures encourages us to see the details in the landscape. A fitting response to the current state of affairs, here nature becomes the central protagonist – a pristine and threatened environment at odds with a cruel, encroaching world.
Bambi: A Life in the Woods was written in 1923 by Austrian author and critic Felix Salten. Unlike Walt Disney, Salten depicts nature through a Darwinian lens. In this coming-of-age story that follows the life of a deer from birth to adulthood, the animal comes to understand both the cruel propensity of nature and the impending threat of the human hunter. Interpreted both as an homage to nature and a political allegory for the treatment of Jews in Europe at the time, the book was banned by the Nazi Party in 1936.
Disney’s interpretation of the story relied heavily on visuals to direct the narrative. At risk of being destroyed by civilisation and technology, Disney’s woods stand as a metaphor for a broader humanity, as well as a prophetic marker for today’s ecological predicament. Disney’s portrayal of nature is a romantic one, in which innocent animals can live in peaceful coexistence. In deconstructing and reconstructing Disney’s animation – set to an emotional soundtrack reworked from the original score – the artists provide us with a rehumanised version of the landscape, creating a space to reflect upon ourselves, our imaginings and our desires.
Broersen & Lukács create video pieces that incorporate filmed footage, digital animation and images appropriated from the media to explore the boundaries between fiction and reality in contemporary visual culture. The impact of news reports and mass media on our perception of the world is a theme that recurs throughout Broersen & Lukács’ oeuvre.
In Prime Time Paradise (2004) the artists link together still images collected from television news reports in a spatial collage that allows the viewer to traverse time and place. Gazing at the screen the viewer weightlessly flies through a constructed landscape that, though based in reality, is a realm of imagination. By removing the images from their original context, where they have already begun to lose their meaning through repetition, Broersen & Lukács create a space where new meanings and connections can be made.
Broersen & Lukács have worked as an artistic duo since they were students of graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in the 1990s. Their work has been shown in major international exhibitions, including ‘Hors Pistes’, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012); ‘Cultured Nature’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011); Experimenta Utopia Now International Biennial of Media Art, Melbourne and touring (2010–12); and ‘All that is Solid Melts into Air’, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp (2009). Recent solo exhibitions of their work have been held at AKINCI, Amsterdam (2013); New Positions, Cologne (2012); Chinese European Art Center, Xiamen (2010); and Old Stone House, New York (2009).
 - www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/19bos/artists/broersen-lukacs/

Selected works:
 Stranded Present
 Liquid Territories
 Ruins In Reverse
 Les Zones Terrestres
 Beyond Sunset & Sunrise
 Wallpaper Series
 Tree #7
 News From Nowhere
 Time & Again
 Mastering Bambi
 The Present Absent
 The New Sorrows Of Young Werther
 Extreme Territory, Glorious Building
 The Fallen
 Dubai, Dubai
 Manifest Destiny
 Manifest Destiny Silkscreens
 Here is Everywhere
 The Broersen Family
 Prime Time Paradise
Zwart Licht
 Crossing The Rainbow Bridge

srijeda, 24. veljače 2016.

shane jesse christmass - nine



Shane Jesse Christmass is the author of the novel ACIDD SHOTTAS
He’s been a member of the band Mattress Grave, and is currently a member in Snake Milker.
He firmly believes that the future of the word, the novel, will be in synthetic telepathy.
Most of his writing/artwork/music is archived at:

petak, 5. veljače 2016.

John Fare (aka John Charles Fare or John Fahey or John Faré) - Surgeons and Gluttons in the House of Flesh

Previše fiktivno da bi bilo samo urbani mit? Random Amputation Generator.

..."there is a 99 percent chance John Fare existed and a 99 percent chance he didn’t"


The strange legend of John Fare resurfaces every few years, much like Rudolf Schwarzkogler's supposed self-castration (he actually jumped out of a window to his death). According to the myth, Fare was a wealthy and perhaps psychotic artist who, out of ennui, hit upon the ultimate bit of body art. He supposedly contacted a cybernetics androbotics expert who helped him construct a programmable operating table with randomizing auto surgery. At various performances throughout Europe and Canada, Fare was supposed to have had numerous body parts lopped off and replaced with bizarre plastic decorations. The legend goes that between 1964 and 1968, Fare was lobotomized, and lost one thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles, his right hand and several random patches of his skin. According to another version, he had only six amputations, his last one being his head. Tickets were sold for each performance and the various body parts were carefully preserved in alcohol. It is a story which no one has every successfully corroborated, but its perennial fascination demonstrates, beyond our natural morbidity and goulisness as a species, the hold of these atavisms upon even relatively sophisticated minds. - Tim O'Neil (1990) Surgeons and Gluttons in the House of Flesh: Notes on the hidden unity betweeen the additive and aubtractive fetishes. Apocalypse Culture (second edition). 88 - 97.

Experimental exhibitions abound these days, so it’s hard not to feel jaded when confronted with yet another curatorial ploy intended to shake the foundations of the sentient world. ‘The Last Piece by John Fare’ made no such explicit claims, but I was still sceptical when I learned of this group tribute to legendary Canadian performance artist John Charles Fare. Fare’s story has been circulating since the early 1970s, when a certain Tim Craig wrote about his antics in Studio International.
He is known for having staged his own dismemberment on a robotic operating table, which randomly selected body parts for amputation: his pre-frontal cortex was the first to go; the final blow took his entire head. Raimundas Malasauskas, curator and acting executor of the John Fare Estate, which he has legally registered, insists there is a 99 percent chance John Fare existed and a 99 percent chance he didn’t. An homage to a hoax? It sounded contrived to me, but I decided to suspend my disbelief for the duration of the show.
I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. As I entered the gallery, a voice boomed: ‘Hello, my name is Gabriel Lester, and I am John Fare’s avatar’. Invited to serve as Fare’s earthly representative for this instalment of the exhibition, Lester gave daily guided tours in which he wove together different strands of Fare’s biography, invented stories and interpreted the works on show. A few were attributed to Fare (an incomplete carousel of slides, Performance Intro. No. 1, c. 1958, and No. 4, c. 1967), but most were provided by artists eager to explore the inter-subjective and inter-discursive potential of an essentially fragmented, if not empty, centre. ‘Dying is an art like everything else,’ Fare allegedly claimed, and this exhibition deftly interrogated issues of artistic influence and lineage, post-mortem celebrity and collaboration, with a refreshing lack of cynicism and much good humour.
Since everyone was focusing on the absent Fare, individual egos seemed a remarkable non-issue. Lester’s talent for improvisation ensured that no two visits were alike. Sometimes he began by indicating The Birth Certificate of Gabriel Lester (2007), a nod to Fare’s habitual display of his own during appearances, or he might lead the visitor to a flat filing cabinet occupying the floor of the main space. This contained extant documentation on Fare, some buttonholes chopped from garments donated by designer Maaike Gottschal, Stefano Graziano’s Photos from Bartlett College (2007), which Fare supposedly attended, and other objects. A tour of the surrounding Fare-inspired works included: Mariana Castillo Deball’s glossy-white porcelain amputated hands hung vertically on circular mirrors (Doorknockers, 2007), interpreted by Lester as ‘fiction and reality knocking on each other’s doors’; Mario Garcia Torres’ reel-to-reel recording, Recreation of John Fare’s Phantom, Fingers Snapping, According to the Notebook of the Late Marja Erbeckt (2007); Juozas Laivys’ Bratz (2007), a spookily blank cast of the interior of a doll’s head, reminiscent of a funereal mask; and Lester’s Tony Clifton Suit (2007), a gold brocade jacket, which Lester donned on occasion, modelled on one worn by the infamous lounge singer invented by the late comedian Andy Kaufman (a key reference for the John Fare Estate).
Throughout the course of the show, performances were staged both in and out of the gallery, usually accompanied by specially commissioned texts relating to Fare. For Ana Prvacki’s Tent, Quartet, Bows and Elbows (2006), a string quartet shut themselves in a small white tent to play a score Ignas Krunglevicius composed in Fare’s honour. An enchanted audience watched as body parts poked out and the tent heaved and wobbled like a giant, melodious pudding. Later, Aaron Schuster sat high on a podium before a giant reproduction of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment (1535–41) in the chapel of the École des Beaux-Arts while delivering an entertaining, if phallogocentric, lecture on the history of levitation. His argument: Fare, through the principle of subtraction, was the lightest artist to have ever existed.
On the penultimate evening, René Gabri treated a packed house to an against-the-grain reading of the John Fare Estate’s project as a critical-philosophical exploration of the ontological status of art. After starting with the post-lecture drinks reception, Gabri navigated in reverse through audience questions and texts by Giorgio Agamben and Maurice Blanchot, before launching a power-point presentation encompassing Sylvia Plath, Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby, Virginia Woolf, and others. Gabri’s ability to seem utterly spontaneous while he mapped a presumably calibrated course through seemingly disconnected trajectories was a performative tour de force that opened up even more pathways for collective and individual Fare-inspired creativity. I suspect (and hope) we have not heard the last of John Fare. - Vivian Rehberg

John Fare: The Story of Missing Parts  
Have you ever heard of John Fare? Or John Charles Faré? Don’t be mislead - it is the same person. First time I heard of him was at a dinner in 2002 in New York. His story, or what I would call ‘the story of missing parts,’ was extremely bizarre: supposedly John Fare was a wealthy, and perhaps psychotic, artist who rose to infamy in the 60s after he contacted a cybernetics and robotics expert who helped him construct a programmable operating table with randomizing auto surgery.  At various performances throughout Europe and Canada, Fare was supposed to have had numerous body parts lopped off and replaced with bizarre plastic decorations, each crude precursors of the now-standard flesh/hardware interface. The legend goes that, between 1964 and 1968, Fare was lobotomized, lost one thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles, his right hand and several random patches of skin. As you may have predicted, a robot-assisted-suicide was his ultimate performance.  
“He killed himself in the very close circle of fans and that was his last art piece,” said Georg as he finished telling me Fare’s tale. “Was it a malfunction of a robot?” I caught myself in the momentarily suspension of disbelief as the story seemed too unreal to be anything but the vehicle for a conversation that would change the flow of dinner. “No, he claimed that dying is an art like everything else. Yet I am not sure whether the death of him was real or fake. He might have performed an Andy Kaufman-type of prank on his audience.” “Was he a prank himself?” I wondered. “We don’t know yet, that is up to you to investigate.” Georg and Elke shrugged their heads.   
To be introduced to something from its final moment was quite a puzzle. However the name of John Fare was easy enough to remember, so I Googled it when I came back from the Rocking Horse. My suspicion that John Fare was a creation of Georg’s immediately vanished as I came across a number of Google hits, which ranged from an extensive John Fare biography published by Tim Craig in Studio International, vol. 949, Band 184, November 19721 [i] , to the List of Unusual Deaths [ii] where John Fare is introduced as a “Canadian artist, decapitated by a robot during an art performance.” The list also states the date of his death: 1971 (in other sources it is 1968.) Here we come across the first parallel with Lee Lozano [iii] who probably is the most blunt case of withdrawal or disappearance from the artworld, yet not such an extreme one as John’s, who merged life and art seamlessly through the act of a suicide.
1971 was the year when Lee Lozano did her Drop-out piece and left New York. She died in 1999 in Dallas and since then her Google hits are only rising. The same counts for John Fare: every day there are more hits on Internet on him including the article in The Guardian [iv] on Gregor Schneider, “an avid admirer of a Canadian called John Fare who removed various bits of his body in a slow and bloody process of auto-amputation.” Actually, German-speaking performance art scholars seem to be particularly keen on exploring John Fare’s story and his Amputationsmaschine. There are a number of attempts to relate him to the body art of the 60s [v] ,, to contextualise within the framework of an industrial culture [vi] , or to trace back his predecessors to the sacrifice culture of Christian martyrs [vii] . On the other hand, a British music journalist recounts, “Fare cuts an eccentric figure. He wears trousers made from zips and has a diagram of a brain tattooed onto his shaven scalp. The performance artist paced his left hand on a chopping board with the fingers spread. Fare’s assistant, Jill Orr, is partially sighted and she slammed an axe between her boyfriend’s pinkies with increasing speed. Eventually the axe severed Fare’s little finger. This was the end of the performance art element within the evening’s entertainment” [viii] . Doubtless to say it is a mere impersonation of John Fare in the concert of Nocturnal Emissions [ix] that took place in London in 1997, but it only confirms the stubborn elusiveness of his mystery.   
None of these studies of course take John Fare into its main focus, which allows him to remain as an enigmatic, fragmented and peripheral figure, as half of the eyeball of The Residents. He bears the elements of identities and fits with the oeuvre of other artists of the period like Rudolf Schwarzkogler or Bob Flanagan: he is a masochistic mandroid with a rather occult agenda. Yet John Fare is at his best when he fluctuates between these different stories. In this respect his role is similar to Ed the barber, a character from The Man Who Wasn’t There by the Coen brothers, insofar as he is a locus of a number of narratives unfolding around seemingly the same subject, and thus constructing the locus itself.  This is where the entropic glory of John Fare comes from. Basically he wasn’t there... but didn’t we just see him? Or to put it another way, did he create his life through an act of death? He might have become a perfect phantom of disappearance.   According to Adam Parfrey “The strange legend of John Fare resurfaces every few years, much like the rumor of Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s supposed self-castration (he actually jumped out of a window to his death). [...] It is a story that no one has ever successfully corroborated, but its perennial fascination demonstrates, beyond our natural morbidity and ghoulishness as a species, the hold of these atavisms upon even relatively sophisticated minds” [x] . I wouldn’t go so far as this to mount John Fare’s legacy on the ever-present set of basic instincts, but would rather again click the link to return to Lee Lozano [xi] .  
Do you think that the robot-assisted-suicide act was indeed the last piece by John Fare? How was he able to disappear and where did he go? How many times did he try quit making art? Remember when Sadam was still on the run and US troops were unable to find him in 2003? Thomas Y. Levin proclaimed that “Saddam has successfully disappeared into media.” It was a paradox, but this contradictory nature of not-being-here-since-being-everywhere is the driving logic for the culture of disappearance. A number of years before Sadam became the star of the show that was his last piece with a rope, Michel Foucault was underlining [xii] the impossibility of the act of disappearing or dying in the modern State: State and market (and their marriage confirmed by a Catholic Church so perfectly in the case of Piergiorgio Welby [xiii] ) will not grant you the right to exit as far as you are productive and useful. Yet the truth is that you don’t have to be alive to be productive. “Death means a lot of money, honey” Andy’s words are relevant as ever. He knew what he was talking about: logistics of post-mortem affairs of dead artists and celebrities is a lucrative business [xiv] . Therefore Lee Lozano actually didn’t die, she has become an undead, like Bas Jan Ader, and disappeared into market.  
John Fare is also undead. Perhaps this was his price for the achievement of the total unity of life and art. So far I haven’t come across any of his works, it seems nothing survived his last act, or at least have been attributed to him. I also never met this trickster who is proven to have been alive only because of the nature of his death. But the fact that his story has become a collective property made me think that perhaps this was his intention—to become a part of us and to test our abilities in knowledge production as we speak about him.    
Raimundas Malašauskas          

JC Fare: Separatist Hero, Queercore Pioneer.    
As is typical in the realm of performance art, very little visual evidence remains of the life and work of JC Fare. Only a few scant details are available: a possibly falsified birth certificate, letters from the Isaacs Gallery denying the artist’s legacy [1] , and a handful of early sculptural prototypes held by Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. [2] But, where the paper trail dead-ends, the apocryphal tales multiply ever more fiercely and the story of John Charles Fare, masochistic practitioner of cybernetic technology and pioneer of robotic amputation, persists. To this perennially favored tale, I wish to add a few clarifying details.  
I begin my investigation with a survey of the existing literature that places our subject geographically and historically. His life begins in 1936 in Toronto, a provincial city that in the interwar period is infected by a stern morality enforced by the white Anglo-Saxon elite. Born to French Canadian parents, a minority population within Ontario, Fare’s story is a tale of cultural resistance against the Anglo-Protestantism of “Toronto the Good.” [3] In a Centre for Experimental Art and Communication bulletin dated 1978, [4] one particularly radical critic goes so far as to interpret Fare’s attempts to sever off body parts as a solidarity offering towards the cause of Quebec separatism. According to this analysis, Fare’s concerted attempts to precision auto-amputation techniques were intended as a symbolic rendering of a process by which the part (Quebec) broken off from the whole (Canada) could achieve liberation.  
While consideration of Fare’s separatist legacy merits further scholarship, the focus of my interest in this brief survey will relate to a heretofore overlooked aspect of Fare’s notoriety: the artist’s sex and sexuality. To pursue this trajectory, I refer to the portrait of Fare that emerges from the passing reflection of one bubbly biographer who names him “a man who, in purely fleshly terms, was so small and faint.” [5] This commentator openly hesitates over Fare’s authenticity as a purely male subject and thus opens the question of Fare’s originating gender. While John Charles Fare is the name that is most often associated with this artist’s public performances, another portrait of the artist emerges under other names. Fare was baptized Jeanne Charlotte Fare and so named by his mother, an early advocate of women’s suffrage and also a catholic strongly devoted to the image of Jeanne d’Arc as a symbol of feminist martyrdom. While Fare’s own performance work resonates with this historical example of self-sacrificial ritual, a strongly iconoclastic bent impelled the artist to reject this given identity.  Whether simply irritated by the Anglophone mispronunciation of the French female name Jeanne or as a subversive assertion of male privilege, Fare resolves to adopt the pseudonym John Charles Fare somewhere around 1954 and throughout the 60s uses the moniker JC Fare among friends and fans.  
By age 28, JC Fare joins forces with biker femme Golni Czervath and the two perform various London leather bars under the band name Conjugal Visit. Czervath is credited with most of the technological innovations in Fare’s performances but it is the costuming in the duo’s early experimental rock shows that is said to have influenced the coming generation of anarchists. While the likes of the Sex Pistols admired Conjugal Visit and tried to emulate their distinctly subversive stage manner, they never managed to match their mentors’ edge. The “conjugal visits,” as their shows were called, remained in the hearts of underground fans the pinnacle of extreme pageantry characterized by heavy onstage bloodshed. An early fanzine from that époque describes a 1964 show:  
“the straining nipples, the cut arms, the sexualized weapons of combat. We get the dangerous possibility of prickly humiliation and the eminent danger that comes with power. JC taunted us with glowering stares, teasing us with kicks inches from our faces. If you were lucky, JC would aim menacing growls at you between songs.” [6]
Of interest in this train of critical response to JC Fare, is the sub-cultural designation of her queer femininity where the official press has always named JC Fare as a male performer. It’s possible that JC willingly straddled both designations, agreeing to be viewed as a male subject for the sake of public performances in art galleries while more in-the-know queer club-goers received Fare simply as a butch woman. Among all the amputations, the one that seemed to key up male critics the most was the purported removal of JC Fare’s testicals in a live show. Given that the use of prosthetics was a central feature of all of Conjugal Visit’s concerts, it’s not a far stretch to imagine that Fare was merely amputating plastic renderings of body parts. JC’s early investment and attachment to plastics, evident in her adolescent sculptural forays made at the art department of Forest Hill C.I., would continue throughout her career. A 1954 yearbook reports that Fare would spend hours crafting plaster moulds of arms and hands to be later cast in rubber. [7]
  As mentioned, costuming was a central aspect to JD Fare’s public persona. One critic describes a particularly renowned outfit: “Fare cuts an eccentric figure. He wears trousers made from zips.” Fifteen years later, the legendary Toronto band The Government paid homage to this outfit in their unforgettable track, “Zippers of Fire,” released on the album How Many Fingers? [8] (a clear reference to the JC Fare’s own digit loss.) Another big contributor to the very early moments of the Toronto queercore scene and the publication that would put queercore on the map was the zine JD put out by Bruce LaBruce and GB Jones. The publication’s title is rumored to have been a testament to the legacy of transgender performer JC Fare. Bruce LaBruce admits: “Sure, the title JD doesn’t just stand for ‘Juvenile Delinquent,’ it’s also a tribute to JC’s legacy. I can imagine that in the future, cybernetic homopunks will eventually publish the zines JE, JF, JG, etc… until they reach JZ and the project will end.” [9]  
Clair West San Francisco, February 2007                                                                                                                                              

[2] Two images of JC Fare’s earliest prosthetics are still on view today at the high school’s art department. Web photos posted at http://www.fhci.net/departments/art.html#gr12
[3] “Toronto the Good” was the tag given to the city in the early 20th century, testimony to its reputation for sanctimony. Prohibition lasted from 1916 to 1927, and restrictions on Sunday trading were so strict that department stores would even draw curtains across their windows to prevent window-shopping. These puritanical sentiments lasted for many years, with some pubs not opening on Sundays for most of the 20th century.
[4] Centre for Experimental Art and Communication fonds. York University Archives and Special Collections. http://archivesfa.library.yorku.ca/fonds/ON00370-f0000285.htm
[5] “John Fare.” Unsigned biographical outline published online. http://imperium.lenin.ru/EOWN/eown7/fare-fido.html
[6] C. Gaglia, “The Farer Sex,” Vazeeleen. Vol. 1, issue 13.  
[7] Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, The Falconer, 1954 yearbook.
[8] The Government, How Many Fingers? Released 1981, GOV-581.  
[9] “Art Fag interviews Bruce LaBruce.” February 7, 1999. http://www.artfag.ca/

Nigel Ayers in Network News Number Fourteen: Total Eclipse IssueJune 1999
..One week later I'm in the Spittle with Marky Martin and Jeffrey
Bernard (who was one of the art history tutors). Jeff had come to give
us a bollocking for talking (about art history, mind) during one of his
tutorials. But I explained to him that all we were doing was discussing
the creative aspect of historification. The point wasn't to talk about
art history, but to make it.
And Jeff said "But you weren't listening to the lecture" And I said "Yes
we were, it was about John Fare." "So what did you learn?" said Jeff. ...................................
And I said, "John Charles Fare was a sculptor/performer who was born in
1936 in Toronto, Ontario. Together with an Italian cybernetic sculptor
he built a computer-controlled machine that performed amputations. Fare
was the patieni, the computer functioned in a completely random way. The
performances were advertised and tickets sold at £5 a throw. These
performances took place in England. In total there were five amputations
on Fare by the machine and every body part amputated was replaced by a
bronze replica. "
"Oh, sorry, so you were listening after all," says Jeff "y`'hat'll you
two monkeys be having then, another two pints of piss warm 70s beer?"
"Cheers" we chorused, not letting on that we thought Jeff's lecture was
a load of bollocks. I'd met John Fare myself that summer in a squat in
Wiltshire and I'd heard the story from the horse's mouth. John Fare's
amputations were not chosen by computer at all, but by blindfolded art
collectors, who threw darts at a board with a diagram of Fare's body on
it. And that whenever one of Fare's body parts was removed it was
replaced by a plastic replica, not a bronze one.…

Since the late 60's I have browsed all types of magazines for articles on electronic art, kinetic art, and robots. When I first came upon the John Fare article, I tucked it away, taking it at face value, for a future use.  Given the rise of the internet, it appears that the "John Fare" story has re-surfaced several times, with "The Coil Magazine" being one of the first. 
As I do for most of my articles, I perform a search on material to see what updates there may be. I, too, like most others, only find either repeat articles, and zero additional information on the parties involved i.e. John Fare, Gilbert Andoff, Golni Czervath, and not even the Studio International correspondant Graham Brown nor respondent,  Tim Craig.
So I can see why this is considered a hoax by some, in that none of the story can be corroborated or proven.
A recent article by Clair West (2007) goes further to suggest that John Fare, later known as JC Fare, was actually Jeanne Charlotte Fare. West's references to his/her school are unfortunately no longer online, or not easily verifiable. Further, refering to femme biker "Golni Czervath" as the cyberneticist is a new, unsubstantiated piece of information, as is the band "Congical Rights", and an unobtainable magazine reference i.e. Vazeeleen.  As such West only adds further mystery to the story, and maybe her's is the hoax!  So real, obtainable, verifiable evidence is required if West's variations are to be believed.
Anyway, I've uncovered the article that Tim Craig based his on. Below is the original Studio International article followed by my new finding in Insect Trust Gazette No3.

[The letter below, and the attached comment by Tim Craig were held over from earlier this year from motives of distaste,and for checking. — Ed.]

John Fare you well
Correspondence with Studio International

Presently I am researching my thesis and badly require information on 'John Fahey' the American sculptor/performer who died knowingly as a part of his work, as I understand it to be: and all this hearsay: together with an Italian cybernetic sculptor, Fahey built a computer-controlled machine that performed amputations. Fahey was the patient--the computer functioned in a completely random way. The performances were advertised and tickets sold at Ł5 a throw. These performances took place in England. In total there were 6 amputations on Fahey byt he machine. The final one being his head.
      Do you have any information about these performances (they took place two years ago, the death of John Fahey was mid-November 1970), John Fahey, his life and/or his work? Failing this could you please let me know of anyone whom you think may have? Failing that could you please print my request in your magazine asking for any known material on Fahey to be sent to me at the address given? I do hope you may be able to help.
[Address redacted]

Tim Craig writes: The Editor of Studio International has been kind enough to call my attention to a letter lately received from Mr Graham Brown of [xxxxxx]. Mr Brown in his letter seeks information touching the life, work, and performances of 'John Fahey, the American sculptor/performer who . . . together with an Italian cybernetic sculptor, built a computer-controlled machine that performed amputations upon Fahey himself.' Questioning Mr Brown has confused John Fahey, an American guitarist of surpassing technical skill, with the only person who could represent the real target of his interest: John Fare, Art's Gingerbread Man or, if you like, the Stepin Fetchit of self-slaughter. (Strange to say, each of Fahey's long-playing records has included the word death in its title.)
      John Charles Fare was born in 1936 in Toronto, Ontario. These xciting facts were always made available to members of his audiences, for whose benefit Fare's birth certificate was always displayed under glass at the entrance to each of the theatres where, over the years, he conducted his 'appearances'. Portions of this document have been blatantly deleted, a circumstance which, in light of Fare's own highly edited state, I find very suggestive. It is more than simple tidiness, I think. As a theatre programme, it seems quite perfect. It says: 'I went fishing once, but tonight I cannot do that.'
      Fare attended Forest Hill Collegiate in Toronto, and in 1959 he came to London, where for a time he remained as an imperfect student at the Bartless School of Architecture. Disappointed, he left London for Copenhagen. Owing to his financial independence, a condition from which he was never perfectly relieved, he was free to spawn novelties, including the first of his 'appearances'. The notable events of his tirocinium are perhaps less well known than they ought to be. Nor are facts concerning this or any other period of Fare's career as generously imparted as one might be led to expect by an organiation calling itself the John Fare Vital Information Bureau, West 56 Street, New York. A vital telephone call which I put through to them early this morning yielded nothing beyond the swirly gobblings of a certain 'Jenkins' who, possibly owing to the distance, resembled a ventriloquist in a Waring Blender, and an unidentified pre-adamite whose continual laughter sounded like pieces of iron thrown into a bathtub. As publicity agents, they are just one step ahead of the Tarbaby.
      I have nevertheless been told by others that Fare's earliest 'appearance' gestures consisted in the public removal of his clothing, accompanied at times by such trimmings as the pressing of 'his bare arse' against the street-level windows of particularly genteel restaurants. These high deeds nearly always led to his arrest and/or hospitalization, if only because it never, apparently, occured to him to avoid consequences, however predictable or unpleasant. One might almost fancy that in these stunts, however amusing and informal, it is not impossible to discern a tinge of masochism as well as the slightly feminine tendencies to discard things and extort medical attention. (Any woman, for example, will throw away an arrowhead collection, and a survey conducted in 1968 indicated that in Harley Street 91 per cent of the customers are women.)
      After a brief spell in the bughouse, Fare was again arrrested when, early one morning, a frightfully Danish police constable found it impossible to ignore Fare's curious treatment of a parked motorcar. Fare hadi n fact already spent several hours fastening random objects to the vehicle in question with epoxy resin. These included: golf balls, milk bottles, brooms, unopened tins of food, one dead cat, his own clothes, old gramophone records, dozens of biros, and over a hundred forks and spoons. While Fare sat quietly in the local stationhouse, the police officer waited patiently for the owner of the car to arrive so that it could be explained that a known lunatic had unfortunately made him the target of vandalism, but had been apprehended and would be charged as soon as the victimized motorist would be good enough to sign a formal charge. However, when the owner did turn up after an hour or so, he appeared not to notice anything at all unusual about anything. When pressed by the astonished officer, he suddenly declared that he thought there was something different and appeared to be highly entertained. He immediately arranged Fare's release and introduced himself: Golni Czervath, who was a cybernetic inventor, electronics wizard, and an accomplished musician. Together they began, almost at once, to develop a robotic operating table, consisting of two robots (each with two flexible hands), attached to the table, beneath which was located a power source and an ingeniously controlled programming system. Assisted by the painter Gilbert Andoff, they worked out a series of programmed 'appearances', which, if nothing else, ensured a very settled career for Fare and an end to the sort of trifling which had so far coloured his life and which parents so often find vexing. The series of amputations thus planned was still, of course, a kind of strip show; yet the difference between it and Fare's earlier disrobings is the difference between sculpture and election posters.
      The first operation, a lobotomy, was presented in June, 1964, in Copenhagen. The time and day--8.30 p.m., Friday--never varied in subsequent appearances. His mind thus abridged, Fare was more or less proof against any doubts concerning his vastation which we might otherwise have entertained.
      By the time I was last invited to attend one of Fare's appearances – at the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto,17 September 1968 – Fare was short one thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles, and several random patches of skin. Each of these scraps had been replaced by a bizarre metal or plastic facsimile, so that when he entered the gallery – a man who, in purely fleshly terms, was so small and faint that, thus refurnished, he seemed to beggar the customary initial enquiry in the game Twenty Questions – several memories were coaxed forward all at once: brass monkeys in winter, 'A Rebours'. the whittling of Dr Moreau, the final condition of Bonny Parker, Nathanael West's curtailed heroes, a bird cage in Bradbury, 'Captain Carpenter', 'Johnny, I Hardly Knew You'. and in the instance of the thumb, an eloquent rejoinder to Nazi bad taste in the field of interior decoration.
      That night in Toronto, his entire right hand, previously unmolested, was scheduled to run out of luck. The gallery was hung with Andoff's huge, faintly Transylvanian murals. Andoff and Czervath assembled the operating table and its adjuncts in front of the audience, putting the whole thing together 'from scratch'. Fare stood perfectly still in one spot, smiling vacantly while lazy blonde spotlights grazed slowly about the ceiling, as if in response to reports of leftover Messerschmitts, harmless in their old age, ever so ample to catch.
       At length, Fare lay him down upon the assembled table, and his two assistants strapped a number of tiny microphones up and down his flesh, so that the highly amplified sound of his pulse, breathing, and mutilation, could be laid on at will. At first, before the robots began the actual surgery, it sounded like whale music. Andoff and Czervath stepped into another room, and, as the four hands of the robots began all at once to move very energetically above the weird table and its stylized cargo, I was reminded for a moment of a xylophone recital I and a girl named Nellie had gone to about ten years earlier on the planet Neptune. Her last name was something like Fisher, only it wasn't Fisher.
      One metal hand gave Fare an injection, paused, and began in concert with the other three to perform exactly as one imagines a competent surgeon and an assistant would. Alarmingly coloured lights began now to emanate from the robots themselves as they continued the job. Plague shades flooded the room, lurid crash pigments, a filthy Dallas crimson, shabby leper mud, a kind of frayed porky one, and a truly horrifying yellow that Winsor & Newton knew nothing about. The absurdly amplified noise of the bone-saw resembled huge panting elephant death yells played backward on too many tape recorders. People blacked out here and there, a few more during the sutures.
      The operation over, one metal claw abruptly raised the hand and wagged it about horribly for a few seconds, as one would a found purse everyone had been searching for in a large field. It then placed the hand in a jar of alchohol, which Andoff, reappearing with the houselights, carefully labelled and placed on a table next to the birth certificate. 'What larks!' a pretty girl of about seventeen said. Fare was wheeled into another room and three days later travelled by rail to New York.
       'Dying is an art like everything else.' Since the evening I have described, Fare has made six appearances in various cities. Much of his audience has from the very start consisted of a hard core of mainly professional, mainly middle-aged people waiting patiently for the masterstroke. The date of that event has always been kept very secret.
      They'll applaud until their tickets tear up the ushers.       
from Studio International, November 1972, #949 (pg 160-161).
- cyberneticzoo.com/robots-in-art/1964-performance-artist-using-robotic-props-john-fare-canadian/

John Fare (sometimes John Charles Fare or John Fahey or John Faré) is a fictional performance artist who allegedly used robotic surgery to remove parts of his body onstage as part of his act. His final performance was allegedly suicide by beheading. The story originated in 1968 and is generally considered an urban legend.
The original version was "The Hand" by N.B. Shein, published in Insect Trust Gazette in 1968. In November 1972, Tim Craig published a plagiarized and embellished version of Shein's original story in reply to a letter to the editor of Studio International.[6] The reader was inquiring about an artist named Fahey who ended his career by having his head amputated onstage.[7][8][9]
In Craig's embellished and plagiarized version of Shein's original, John Charles Fare was born in 1936 in Toronto and attended Forest Hill College. In 1959 he moved to London to study architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, but soon left to live in Copenhagen. He was briefly held in a mental health facility for exposing himself in public at performances. After his release, he was re-arrested for gluing objects to a car. The car's owner, musician and inventor Golni Czervath, did not press charges and befriended Fare. The two developed a robotic operating table with painter Gilbert Andoff. The first performance was a lobotomy on Fare in June 1964. All performances were performed on a Friday. By the time Fare performed at the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto on 17 September 1968, he "was short one thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles, and several random patches of skin." The amputated parts were preserved in alcohol. That evening, he had his right hand amputated. Fare's body was fitted with small microphones, which transmitted his pulse and breathing frequency in a distorted fashion. Craig said Fare had performed six more shows between 1968 and 1972.
In 1985 Danny Devos wrote to Isaacs Gallery founder Avrom Isaacs enquiring about John Fare and his supposed performance in 1968. The response included a statement in writing that the story of John Fare "has no factual basis," adding "there was no such person as John Fare as far as I know."
The story was reprinted in a fanzine made in collaboration with the band Coil in 1987. That publication included more correspondence with Isaacs, who said, "I know of no such person as John Fare. In the sixties I had a series of mixed media concerts in my gallery, and out of this came the myth of John Fare. Every five years or so, someone rediscovers the myth and writes me a letter such as yours."[11] Fare's alleged performance was emulated during a Nocturnal Emissions concert in London in 1997.[12] Writing about the event, a British music journalist recounts: "Fare cuts an eccentric figure. He wears trousers made from zips and has a diagram of a brain tattooed onto his shaven scalp. The performance artist placed his left hand on a chopping board with the fingers spread. Fare’s assistant, Jill Orr, is partially sighted and she slammed an axe between her boyfriend’s pinkies with increasing speed. Eventually the axe severed Fare’s little finger. This was the end of the performance art element within the evening’s entertainment". Fare has been mentioned in connection with body art, industrial culture, and the practices of Rudolf Schwarzkogler and Bob Flanagan, and, like other performance artists, has been seen as a successor of the Christian martyrs. He has also been mentioned in the Guardian in connection with the German artist Gregor Schneider Critic Audrone Zukauskaite examined the durability of this legend in Art Lies magazine.[18] Artists Gabriel Lester, Mariana Castillo Deball, "the estate of John Fare," René Gabri, Mario Garcia Torres, and Juozas Laivys explored themes of the story in a 2007 Gallery GB Agency exhibit in France.[19] While Lester acknowledged Fare was "an apparition, an artist thought to have existed," he said Fare embodied the culmination of romantic myth of the artist cursed, "someone who has probably never existed, and yet lives forever." - wikipedia



And there is some discussion on this mailing list (this post and the 2 next ones):

So while it is almost definitely untrue it does seem to crop up every now and again but what is the basis of this (and possibly other similar myths)? Is it an elaborate joke amongst a small group of people and why do I keep running across "Nocturnal Emissions" (which just doesn't sound right!!)?:


and this review from 1997:

Does he actually exist?

- forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/john-fare-and-his-auto-surgery-performances.16811/

This is the  earlier "Insect Trust Gazette" (Issue 3, 1968) article that the Craig response in SI (above) was based upon. 
Insect Trust Gazette No.3 1968. p1-4 (pdf)

john fare
appearing at the isaacs gallery
sept. 17
8:30 p.m.
Hardly a conspicuous notice on its small 8 by 10 inch card, and not very widely displayed: I saw only two. One was in the window of the Rendezvous Bookstore on Yonge St., and the other at the Edward Johnson music building of the University of Toronto. It is the same notice that Fare uses in all the cities, European and North American, where he has appeared, changing only the place and the date. The time — 8:30 p.m. of a Friday evening — is a constant.
Yet despite the poor, practically nonexistent advertising, the gallery which is none too big was packed on the evening of the seventeenth with people willing to pay the price of admission. Fare has a peculiar underground reputation which does not run through the usual channels. The people who attended the Toronto appearance seemed completely unlike those who usually turn out for avantgarde events: there were quite a few who looked like businessmen (with their wives), clerks, and doctors. One wonders how, exactly, they got word of the appearance. Also, by listening to a nearby conversation, I gather that there is a group of hippies who follow Fare from city to city, trying to take in 'the whole performance… man, when he dies….' The type of audience is appropriate because Fare's 'appearance' is like nothing else on the contemporary art scene: resemblances and parallels abound, but no one and nothing else is like John Fare.
For instance. Cage, the American composer, writes silences that bring chance audience sounds into the music, employs electronic equipment, theatre and dance. The art-forms merge and join one another in a process of cross-fertilization. Scientific equipment and the mass media of popular culture dominate the atmosphere. Fare utilizes all these trends, but also something more: himself, John Fare, body and mind.
At 8:30 sharp, Fare entered the dimly-lit gallery which had been hung with large murals by Gilbert Andoff — chrome plating, delicately tinted plastics and glass — all designed to play on popular images of the laboratory or the space ship. Fare is a small this man with wispy blond hair, and a shy but contented smile plays around his lips. He was dressed in a simple white silk robe rather like a surgical gown. While the audience, seated on folding chairs surrounding a cleared space in the centre of the room, watched silently, Fare and his two assistants (Andoff and Golni Czervath) brought in skeletons of metal, tubing, wires and heavy anonymous boxes and assembled the equipment, piece by piece, in the cleared space in the midst of the audience. Their movements, graceful and sure, and the subtle lighting effects created a weird atmosphere in the small gallery, added to — not destroyed — by the fact that the lights were operated in full view of the audience. It requires a good sense of dramatic timing to bring this sort of thing off and Fare succeeded, employing all the cliches of science-fiction (the mad scientist touch) and creating the performance right in front of the audience.
The completed equipment stood in the middle of the gallery now. It consisted of an operating table on each side of which were two robot-like structures, each with two flexible hands. One held a tray of surgical instruments. Both robots were attached to the table, beneath which was the power equipment and a control site already programmed (minute by minute, cut by cut). The two assistants proceeded to strap several miniature microphones to Fare's wrists, neck and chest; the microphones were hooked up to speakers hung around the walls of the gallery and the amplified sounds of the man's pulse and breathing filled the room. Pulse regular, breathing regular. He was perfectly calm. The funny little smile still playing around his lips, Fare was helped onto the table and lay down; the assistants exited; Fare pressed a switch and the operating unit started up. A robot administered a shot of sodium pentothal and Fare became unconscious. The same robot sterilized the instruments (in a sterilizer beneath the table) and handed them to the other which immediately began the work. The operation scheduled for the evening was the amputation of Fare's right hand.
According to his birth certificate which was displayed under glass on a small table at the entrance to the gallery, John Charles Fare was born in 1936 in Toronto, Ontario. What other information I have about him I gathered from various contacts who wish to remain anonymous and from writing to the John Fare Vital Information Bureau on West 56th Street, New York. According to the Information Sheet I received from them, Fare attended Forest Hill Collegiate, Toronto, and then studied architecture in London, England. His family must be fairly wealthy. From London he went to Copenhagen where he began to experiment with different art-forms and developed his 'appearance' technique. I have heard that his first attempts consisted of such things as undressing in public; he was arrested several times and once committed to a mental hospital for observation. But then he met Golni Czervath the musician and electronics engineer. Together they developed the operating table equipment and, with the painter Gilbert Andoff, worked out the present performance, detailing each operation of the series. The schedule will not be changed. Fare and his assistants know when the final operation will be, but keep the information in strictest secrecy.
The first operation, in Copenhagen, was a lobotomy: the severing of the frontal lobes of the brain which results in a complete and unquestioning acceptance of the status quo, whatever that may be. In Fare's case, the status quo was the series of appearances he had already planned; the amputation of his mind sealed off whatever will he might have had to escape from that irrevocable sequence which is slowly transforming him with each part of his body that he loses.
The sound of his breathing became slower once the anaesthetic took effect. The robots worked slowly and efficiently, one doing the cutting, the other taking care of the instruments and applying the clamps and sponges. The robots also manipulated the lighting effects now, as if they were part of the operation: murky green, a dirt-tinged red. Thin beams of silvery light, coming from the robots themselves, played on Fare's body while blood dripped from the incisions into a revolving container of transparent plastic. The sound of cutting came across the speakers too now, faint and tickling for the skin, thick and dream-like for the flesh. The noise of surgical saw against bone is indescribable. Two members of the audience got up and left at this point, but quietly, still holding their breath. The rest hardly seemed to notice them; hypnotized eyes focused on the table where Fare lay.
And then the instruments were returned to the tray, the final stitches were completed — even the sounds of needle punctuating skin and the movements of the thread could be heard amplified — the operation was over and a flexible metal claw elevated the hand as the house lights came on one by one: the sickly pale fluorescent lighting. The hand dangled in mid air. The other robot produced a jar containing an alcohol solution into which the hand was deposited; the cap was screwed on and the jar handed to Andaff who had reappeared. He carried it to the table near the door. The operating complex had stopped. Nothing was heard from the one loudspeaker which had been amplifying the sound of Fare's right-hand pulse. Dead silenced. Andoff and Czervath removed Fare onto a pushcar which rolled out from beneath the table and moved him out of the room.
In the course of the appearances to date, the thumb, third and fourth fingers of the left hand, several toes, a number of moles and both testicles have been removed and replaced with stylized metal or plastic facsimilies. I am not sure about the right eye, but I noticed it had a peculiar glazed shine to it. This time however, Fare had decided (had known since Copenhagen, June 1964) that nothing but an empty space was to be left where his hand had been. They say that amputees often feel a ghost limb in place of the real one that has been lost.
The sound equipment was turned off. The audience started to move, got up, put on hats and coats with a minimum of noise and filed out. Several people paused briefly to examine the hand floating in the jar, which will remain as an exhibit until Fare leaves town.
By then it won't matter. Fare is what is important, and on the third day after the operation, fully recovered, he was on the move again with a busy schedule ahead of him, travelling by train or car from Toronto to New York to Ann Arbor to Chicago to San Francisco, changing as he goes until he completely realizes the work of art which he planned out for himself before the lobotomy. He is a slow-motion suicide, or a human metamorphosis. Something is happening. For myself, I cannot honestly say why I paid the price of admission, but once in the gallery I felt completely free from the qualms of consicence. The reason for that must be the same reason why, apparently, there is no legal justification for the police to interfere in the appearances, to stop Fare from pursuing a course that must end in his death, at least his death as a human being.
Andoff and Czervath were dismantling the equipment when I left. On the side of the jar, standing beside the birth certificate on the small
table, was a label:
john fare
right hand
Sept. 17

Further comments:
1. So Craig uses Shein's article as his own. He embellishes, but based on what – poetic license, other information he has gleaned?
2. The performance date of 1968 is derived by the publication of Shein's article in ITG. It's possible the event came from an earlier year. The person who may know is Bob Bassaro (Basaro) who was the main editor behind Issue 3 (see Jed Irwin interview here), which is some 3 year later than Issue 2.  Bassaro is still performing his Jewish harp somewhere. Someone may know of his whereabout.
3. As it turns out, Sep 17 1968 is actually a Tuesday. One has to go back to 1965 for Sep 17 to fall on a Friday. So most likely the editor's of ITG have had Shein's article since 1965 before publishing it in 1968. Issue 2 of ITG was published in the Summer of 65, so the article was not available for Issue 2.
4. There is a letter from Av Isaacs saying he is not aware of John Fare nor of him performing there in the late 60's. Again, if Isaac's was looking for records in 1968, he would not have found them. The Isaacs Gallery closed in 2001. Av is now 85 y/o as at Jan 2012. Further, there is an earlier letter from Av Isaacs stating: "I am afraid so much time has elapsed since the 'performance' of John Fare that we have no documentation of it. All I remember is that it was a bloody mess." The follow-up letter says "I'm afraid I was 'sending you up'. I know of no such person as John Fare. In the sixties I had a series of mixed media concerts in my gallery, and out of this came the myth of John Fare. Every five years or so, someone rediscovers the myth and writes me a letter such as yours."
With regard to the Isaacs letters from both sources (Coil Magazine, Devos), they are presented as is. There is no commentary from either recipient that they accepted these artifacts as proof of non existance. That is left to the reader. I also think they went to Av in the first instance to see whether or not the performance happened. There's no hint of "Hi Av, please show me the evidence that proves the event never existed." One would usually request in a neutral way. 
Av at the time was still in business, so the first letter could be damning for his business. So the second letter is produced to negate it.
During exhibitions, the artists themselves have to man the space and lock-up afterwards. Unless the gallery owner wanted to be there e.g. the artist was a notable, they would probably show up only on the opening night. Further, if hypothetically the show was scheduled to go on and Isaacs knew that a hand was to be severed, I would strongly doubt that he would allow the show to start in the first place given the potential consequences.   In my opinion, is the performance did happen, I believe Av wouldn't have been told the detail of the performance, he didn't attend, and that ""I am afraid so much time has elapsed since the 'performance' of John Fare that we have no documentation of it.", which is why any further attempt to contact Av Isaacs would be futile.
5. N.B. Shein is currently unknown – no hits on Google.
6. One must not forget Graham Brown, for he had heard of some earlier stories for him to instigate further research, back in 1972. If he is still alive, he may have more information.

Related material:
It was an article in one of the experimental music band Coil's magazines (first 1987 issue) that people re-discovered the John Fare story. This story is simply the Studio International version, along with two letters from the Isaacs Gallery stating they were not aware of "John Fare" in any shows at their gallery at the time.
A later band, Nine Inch Nails, were known to be influenced by Coil's work.   One of Nine Inch Nail's musical video release was "Happiness in Slavery".  It was the first music video that Jon Reiss directed for Nine Inch Nails. The entire video was banned from MTV when it was released and created a bit of a stir. It was inspired by Octave Mirabeaux's decadent classic "The Torture Garden" . And yes that is the late Bob Flanagan that is the star of the narrative portion of the video. John Reiss also produced much of Survival Research Laboratories robotic videos. 

Nine Inch Nails: Happiness In Slavery (Uncensored) (1992) from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.

Adam Barnick has a similar theme in his movie "Mainstream".

Mike Parr:

In 1977, Mike Parr (an Australian artist) splattered blood everywhere and shocked his audience as he pretended to chop off his left arm.

Quoting from the shock book Apocalypse Culture by Adam Parfrey
John Fare and Bart Huges
"The strange legend of John Fare resurfaces every few years, much like the rumor of Rudolf Schwarzkogler's supposed self-castration (he actually jumped out of a window to his death). According to the myth, Fare was a wealthy and perhaps psychotic artist who, out of ennui, hit upon the ultimate bit of body art. He supposedly contacted a cybernetics and robotics expert who helped him construct a programmable operating table with randomizing auto surgery. At various performances throughout Europe and Canada, Fare was supposed to have had numerous body parts lopped off and replaced with bizarre plastic decorations. The legend goes, that between 1964 and 1968, Fare was lobotomized, and lost one thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles, his right hand, and several random patches of skin. According to another version, he only had six amputations, the last being his head. Tickets were sold for each performance and the various body parts were carefully preserved in alcohol. It is a story that no one has ever successfully corroborated, but its perennial fascination demonstrates, beyond our natural morbidity and ghoulishness as a species, the hold of these atavisms upon even relatively sophisticated minds.
As bizarre and unreliable the John Fare story is, there is a well-documented and and undeniable example of auto-surgery. In 1962, Dr. Bart Huges…" [end of quote] , a Dutch doctor of sorts, came to believe that human ecstasy and happiness were directly related to the volume of blood present in the brain. He felt that the natural happiness of infants and children was simply due to the fact that the bones of their skulls had not yet grown together and fused, as they have in adults.
From Wiki Trepaning
The most prominent folk theory for the benefits of self-trepanation is offered by Bart Huges (alternatively spelled Bart Hughes and sometimes called "Dr. Bart Hughes", although he did not complete his medical degree). Hughes claims that trepanation increases "brain blood volume" and thereby enhances cerebral metabolism in a manner similar to cerebral vasodilators such as ginkgo biloba. No published results have supported these claims.
In a chapter of his book, Eccentric Lives & Peculiar Notions, John Michell cites Huges as pioneering the idea of trepanation in his 1962 monograph, Homo Sapiens Correctus, which is most often cited by advocates of self-trepanation. Among other arguments, Huges contends that children have a higher state of consciousness and since children's skulls are not fully closed one can return to an earlier, childlike state of consciousness by self-trepanation. Further, by allowing the brain to freely pulsate Huges argues that a number of benefits will accrue.

Aron Lee Ralston (born October 27, 1975) is an American outdoorsman, engineer and motivational speaker. [from Wiki]
He is widely known for having survived a canyoneering accident in south-eastern Utah in 2003, during which he was forced to amputate his own right arm with a dull multi-tool in order to free himself from a dislodged boulder, which had trapped him there for five days and seven hours. Even after he had escaped, he still had to climb down a 65 foot (around 20m) sheer cliff face to reach safety.[1]
The incident is documented in Ralston's autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and is the subject of the film 127 Hours.