The Ideals of IsolationLucy McRae

London, June 17th, 2016
interview Felicity Carter

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Lucy McRae by Julian Love, Microgravity Trainer,
from The Institute of Isolation, 2015.

 

 

Australian born, London based sci-fi artist Lucy McRae is renowned for applying her creative talents to the fields of science, technology, health and psychology. Famously referred to as the “Body Architect”, McRae has received critical acclamation for her works that question the human body, its performance and importantly, its limits, using her own body for the experimentation process. This year has seen her explore isolation and the effects it has on the body and the mind with her self-produced observational documentary, The Institute of Isolation which showed at the London Science Museum this summer. Pushing the boundaries through the medium of a Lynchian-type macabre film that merges fact with fiction, the only thing McRae expects is the unexpected.
FC You refer to yourself as the “Body Architect”, what does that mean?
LMC I have always swerved labels so I either go by the name of “The science fiction artist” or “Body architect” and it was fabricated back in 2006 when I went for a job at a consumer electronics company called Philips. The notion of body architect is that it has connotations towards the relationship of the body in its environment and also culminates my background in interior design, architecture, dance, graphic design and fashion design. Really it’s a hybrid name for a variety of backgrounds that is not limiting your outputs.
FC The key codes of your work combine art with science, technology and science fiction, have you always been interested in these topics?
LMC My dad is a mathematics teacher so I think the evidence of things or trying to understand things through equations or physics has been ingrained in me since I was a child. I was inspired by the background that I came from, and like many other kids I was asking questions, “why are we here?”, “where did we come from?” and “when will we die?”.
I would read fantasy stories to distract me from thoughts about death and started thinking about how can we use science to understand more about ourselves. Science fiction came in a lot later and the fundamentals of my work were definitely created in my four years at Philips, where I led a research team and we looked at the relationship between the body and technology. There I worked with engineers and scientists, and went on to work with synthetic biologists. My work also has a lot to do with the people I have met along the way, and being open to meeting people from vastly different backgrounds.

 

 

“I THINK ISOLATION HAS CONNOTATIONS OF BEING ALONE AND BEING IN SOLITUDE AND OUR REFERENCES WEREN’T SUNNY, BRIGHT PLACES BUT INSTEAD PLACES OF REFLECTION, AND THAT FOR ME, TENDS TO BE IN THE SHADOWS.”

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