Lucy McRAE: Body architecture for the future

  • By:karen-millen



The captivating and provocative images of Lucy McRAE are the result of the continuous experiments and research developed in collaboration with other artists, designers or scientists.

Examinando la forma en la que la ciencia está transformando el cuerpo, la estética profética de McRae plantea, a través del arte, un futuro aún por suceder, poniendo al límite cuestiones éticas e ideológicas sobre quiénes somos y hacia dónde vamos. Artista de ciencia ficción y pionera en difuminar los límites del arte, la arquitectura, la tecnología, el diseño y ahora, la moda, McRae, ha logrado habilidosamente imaginar otras formas de ser y, sobre todo, otras posibilidades para que la biología humana pueda ser aumentada por una mezcla de diseño físico y la modificación de genes y emociones, en colaboración con algunas de las organizaciones de mayor prestigio mundial como Philips, MIT, Ars Electronica o NASA.Lucy McRae: arquitectura corporal para el futuro Lucy McRae: arquitectura corporal para el futuro

Superior Image: Future Survival Kit.Photo: Ariel Fisher.

Through the Body Architect label, McRAE tries to communicate its hybrid nature and thus be able to approach everything that awakens its curiosity.His latest work, Heavy Duty Love, a speculative domestic device that compensates for the lack of human touch in early life created in the laboratory, has been extended in a fashion firm, Future Sensitive Human, to raise the complex identities that will arise aroundCRISPR technology.We chat with Lucy.

Heavy Duty Love.Venice Biennial.Photos: Brian Overend.

NEO2 Tu último trabajo, Heavy Duty Love, está siendo expuesto en laVenice Biennial hasta el 21 de noviembre.Could you explain what it consists of and how did the idea occurred to you?

Lucy McRAe my works always investigate the way in which science and technology cause the body, to the mind, to humanity, to humanity.Thus, Heavy Duty Love is a machine, a prototype in operation, imagined in a post-crispr, in which engineering genetics, technology and all tools are available regularly and in which we can make life growhuman in a laboratory without the need for women to be the vehicle for pregnancy.

We know that touch is the first sense that is generated in the uterus, so would it be affected?Would it arise before or later?Or would it be directly eliminated?Science seems to be in a mission towards perfection and some aspects such as vulnerability, weaknesses, accidents, serendipia are not considered the strengths of humanity.However, for me they are.This machine is a provocation that suggests that creating life in a laboratory.The relationship with the parents is severely questioned due to the lack of the mother's first hug, understood as something ancestral.So this machine is a place for a being that is growing in a laboratory and needs new forms of intimacy.

NEO2 What has been the public's response?

Lucy McRAE The installation is having a very positive response.I think the concept can result for many a bit difficult to understand.The idea of coming to this world in a radically different way may seem absurd, but I think that this type of absurdities are relevant when science and technology advance so rapidly.Crispr is becoming something common, something mainstream.

As creative I put a lot of emphasis on the details and these details are exposed to the public for them to investigate.In my other works there is usually an interactive component in addition to a voyeuristic element, since there are normally visitors within the machine that test it in their own bodies.In this case, the body is not present but the machine hints where it must be.So I have the feeling that this time attention focuses more at work and less on the body interacting with work.

NEO2 The project has spread to a fashion firm called Future Sensitive Human.What makes it special?Do you have plans for her?

Lucy McRAe yes!The film will show one of the five or six scenes of the machine and what makes me most illusion is that we are creating merchandising.These are some pieces of dressed and collectible art of the film for its acquisition.This is a novelty.I have wanted to have my own firm since it was a girl, it was my childhood dream, and now it is also an opportunity to use the high fashion technology and raise the complex ideas around CRISPR technology.You can read about Crispr in a book, but you can't read Crispr in fashion.That is why I consider that it is a great opportunity since this issue will radically change the life of everyone.

Luyandb art.Grow on You.Photographic collaboration between Lucy McRAE and Bart HESS.

Lucy McRae: arquitectura corporal para el futuro

Neo2 some time ago, for 2008, you collaborated with the textile artist Bart HESS in an impressive series of works, Luyandbart, about how the human silhouette could evolve.Has your hypothesis changed since then?

Lucy McRAe I think this question leads me to think that the way I have to produce is very primitive and instinctive.I identify my role as that of an interpreter, who feels the weak signals on the margins of culture and makes them physical and tangible things to get back, to be able to better understand them.The Luyandbart collaboration consisted of a rapid exploration of the use of certain materials in the body and that way of creating, a little blind and without knowing very well what the result will be, it is the way in which I continue working on the study.I am also an architecture teacher at SCI-ARC and my way of teaching is based precisely on ignorance as a way for clarity.In this the new aesthetics and innovation are pioneer.

NEO2 Do you see yourself collaborating with Bart HESS or with similar artists?

Lucy McRAE I am very interested in collaborations with fashion.I am not a designer, but I love the magic and alchemy that arise when I work with people of different origins and disciplines.I know that if I collaborate with a fashion brand, the vision I can incorporate will be very different and the result would be very different from what we would get if we worked separately.I feel very curious and I would love to do it.Recently I have been thinking that the artist's role is to be in a continuous reinvention process.I still do things that I have never done before because I think there is a certain magic in being someone foreign, so I think this fashion in fashion would be a reinvention.I am very interested in seeing how my point of view can be transferred to the clothes that people wear.

Neo2 You created the term Body Architecture to define what you do, could you explain what it means?

Lucy McRAe Body Architect label was created to get a job for which he had no experience.They invited me to request a position in an electronics company to lead a future design research team, in which I would work with engineers, fashion designers, futuristic ... I had never done something like that.When I went to the interview they asked me what I was, if I was a graphic, communication, product designer ... but I was nothing like that!I had trained to be a classic dancer, I began to study interior design, I have architecture training, I do graphic design for movies and fashion, I am interested in fashion ... I am a hybrid!They did not give me the job because they needed to know what it was exactly.It was my director who suggested to create a new label that summarized all my hybrid experience to be able to communicate, according to the most traditional business standards, which I was.The Body Architect label helped me get a job and has become a platform to work on everything I like.

In 2006, being a hybrid was not at all an advantage, nor did it follow was something that could be understood.However, today I believe that everything is merging into the field of education allowing disciplines to be entertained through art, coding, history and future.

Solit ary survival raft.Photos: Ariel Fisher.

Neo2 in a past interview you said that you wanted to explore how "the future, from a female perspective, can be disorderly, visceral and human".Is Heavy Duty Love the beginning of a more feminine Body Architecture?

Lucy McRAe the messy and the visceral not only refers to the result but also to the creation process, in my way of creating.I think that if you want to have a visceral result, a rigorous test and analysis process cannot be carried out.You need to be open to error.Someone told me that the weavers sometimes thread badly on purpose to attract the spirit of error.I love that idea!Movies, works of art, everyone has their own idea about what they want to become and it is necessary to leave space for error to appear and develop their own personality or at least the basis of work.

NEO2 How long does it take to produce one of your works like Heavy Duty Love?

LUCY MCRAE Debido a la COVID, la fecha de inauguración para laVenice Biennial se pospuso dos o veces.So the work lasted fourteen months from conception to delivery, although during that time I also created Biometric Mirror and Solitary Survival Raft.

NEO2 And how many people are usually involved in the process?

Lucy McRAE The number of collaborators can vary according to the work process phase.We can have a team of about twenty people for a film, or a study of five to seven professionals for the production of a work.I get involved in the creative process that when the time comes to extend the team I find it very difficult to make the decision and open myself to others, although I recognize that collaborating with product designers, manufacturers, technical directors and architects, among others, is essential forThe success of the work.

NEO2 almost two years ago there was a retrospective about your work in NGV, Melbourne.Did you appreciate a great evolution when you see all your work exposed?How did you feel seeing all your work together?

Lucy McRAe had never seen the thirteen -year -old work under the same roof.Melbourne is the place where I grew up and where my parents, my family, witnessed all my work.It really was an important moment for me and I remembered my beginnings as an artist when I dedicated myself to my favorite hobbies.Le exhibition at NGV was like putting a flag on the ground, it was the demonstration that I had achieved it and that my work had taken seriously.Seeing the evolution of my work was something interesting since sometimes, in the past, my way of working, from one project to another, seemed very chaotic.However, when I saw all my work under the same roof, curated by Simone Leamon, I checked the connection and coherence between all the works and intuitive aesthetics they had in common.

NEO2 You have also collaborated with music groups such as Architecture in Helsinki, Reptile Youth or Roby, in the creation of some of their musical videos.Do you consider this an interesting means to show your work?

Lucy McRAE What happened in the past is that these videos were experiments, opportunities to try something about what felt curiosity.In the case of my collaboration with Roby, I was able to experiment with a garment made with a liquid textile that I had previously created with my team.What my clients do not know is that I am experiencing ... music is a very powerful discipline and to combine music and art is for me the most to be able to excite and have an impact on people.

Swallowable Parfum Live Lab.

NEO2 I am especially interested in your work swallowable parfum, in which you collaborated with the synthetic biologist Shared Mansy.The idea of modifying our personal smell from the inside to outside me, how did the laboratory work?Was there any cosmetics brand interested in the project?

Lucy McRAE yes, that work was carried out in 2010, when in the United States the beauty market was valued at 465 billion dollars.For me it is a pleasure to agit and cause business and markets and that of beauty had never been disturbed until that moment.

Suddenly, they started talking about me in the news channels, saying that I was a researcher who turned the body into an aromatizer, a perfume that worked from inside to outside.What happened later was unexpected.The main pharmaceutical companies were contacted with me saying that they wanted to be the first to produce and distribute this innovative product.As an artist I felt as an impostor since it was not real: it was not a technology, but a provocation.That moment became a personal epiphany, but I understood that it was possible to encourage technology telling stories that people believe.Now, one of the most important beauty firms has started an ingestible laboratory.

I imagine that for any reason the way in which my work spur to culture is prophetic, advanced to technology and capable of generating provocation.So far there is no way to produce an ingestible perfume, but I don't think they take something similar.I find the effect of edible beauty products, either by ingesting them or through solar filters.

Future Survival Kit.Photo: Ariel Fisher.

NEO2 Some of the projects that you have carried out as Solitary Survival Raft or Future Survival Kit question the future relationship between technology and the body to improve some areas of human life.However, in your work or experiments, senses such as touch or smell play an important role.What place will the emotional aspect occupy in the future of technology?Do you think it will be taken into consideration?

Lucy McRAE It is necessary to be considered!I feel that science is rubbing against human intuition and we are asking us more than ever to act as if we were our own gods, that we have the instinct of our gods to interconnect through emotional intelligence, to connect with virtual environments tothrough our senses, through the most primitive intuition.It is very important and definitely I consider that it is the way we have to move forward.Unfortunately, due to social networks and for the way in which business is organized, we are not using our intuition as a way of directing our lives, although I believe that after the pandemic the intuition is living a rebirth.Those who have reflected deeply during pandemia have an advantage when acting from intuition.

Future Day Spa.

NEO2 Your Future Day Spa project consists of a personalized experience that reproduces the feeling of being embraced.Compression Cradle, is also based on squeezing the body to prepare it for human touch.Don't you think this even more relevant experience now that we live a period in which physical contact must be limited?

Lucy Mcrae yes.Some friends contacted me at the beginning of the pandemic telling me that I had predicted the future and that now we would all need this type of machines.However, like everyone else, I was also shocked.I had an identity crisis because suddenly the works I was imagining for the near future, my investigations, they came true.One of the areas that we are exploring as a study focuses on the future of well -being, the future of health and that of spas, and we investigate how they can evolve by introducing primitive forms of intuition.Using well -being as a way of cultivating the comfort of being with uncertainty through physical contact, as Future Day Spa does.

Compression Cradle: Photos: Scottie Cameron.

NEO2 Has the pandemic changed the general perspective of your work?

Lucy McRAe would never say something like "I already told you" but I have always believed in the importance of our body and the way we feel through it.It is necessary to optimize it to be able to feel the weakest signs and not being able to do it during the pandemic I experienced overwhelming uncertainty.So now I work hard, almost like an athlete, because I feel that my body and my way of being are fundamental for my creativity and for the reception of those signals issued by culture.I had not thought about it before, but I think that the long -range identities I had have been reconnected to my own body somehow.

COMPRESSION CRADLE: Photos: Daria Scaglila.

NEO2 Any idea what your next job is going to be?

Lucy McRAE I am working on a new short shown that shows the work Heavy Duty Love and I am very excited because this short will reach the world with a series of dressed collectibles.I am thinking what would be the best way to distribute them, but for now I think I will do it through Instagram, as a limited edition with previous reserve.I'm also working on a new film about performance, ritual and dance.This is the new way I am going to venture.

Lucy McRAE: Body architecture for the future
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