Body architect and artist Lucy McRae is fascinated by the reciprocal relationship between humans and technology. Combining science and imagination, McRae has translated the future potential of this relationship in different artistic mediums, creating visually arresting and intriguing multimedia art pieces.
Inspired by the artist’s diverse background in classical ballet, architecture and fashion, her art challenges convention in film, experiential art, fashion and body art. Blurring the boundaries between humans and technology, McRae’s work confronts accepted frontiers of the body, health and human adaptability and seeks to demonstrate that humans themselves will drive evolution.
To create complex futuristic scenarios, McRae says, “I start to think about all of the potential problems that may arise, and from the point of view of an artist, [ask] how can I interpret those stories and invent solutions?”
These stories and solutions have been as distinct in medium as they have been provocative. From to working on clothing for music videos with Swedish musician Robyn, to collaborating with scientists to create a pill that allows the body to sweat perfume, to devising electronic tattoos augmented by touch, McRae’s art has consistently countered our current experience of technology.
One of her recent pieces has had implications beyond the artistic. Through an experiential installation and a demonstration film, McRae created the imagined Astronaut Aerobics Institute and its Future Day Spa – a spa designed to prepare participants’ minds and bodies for space travel.
The treatments are unusual but recognisable, consisting of a vacuum chamber to isolate mind and body while oxygenating blood cells. Over 100 people participated in the installation in Los Angeles, experiencing a variety of emotional and physical reactions — as well as apparently a sense of calm and peacefulness that apparently lives on.
The arresting depictions of the future depicted in the Future Day Spa had surprising and unexpected outcomes for McRae. By suggesting the profound effect that the evolution of society and use of technology will have on the human condition, she says it has opened up potential areas for science and medicine, in particular the study and treatment of autism.
The reaction of one individual in particular has also inspired McRae’s latest work, which looks deeper into isolation from touch and physical emotional experiences.
This upcoming project, an observational documentary produced for The Science Museum and its Future of Health exhibition, will create The Institute of Isolation – a study to quantify physical emotional experiences, not just physiological facts. This work will follow another film project in collaboration with Skylar Tibbetsof MIT for the Storefront Gallery — The Jamming Bodies Laboratory.
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Aug . 15 . 2017