Lucy McRae: Body Architect, on view at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia through February 9, explores the Los Angeles-based Australian artist’s collaborations with scientists, through to pop musicians, in her creative research practice over the past thirteen years.
McRae’s work encourages conversations on the future of human existence through the areas of biology, beauty and health. The exhibition features seven of McRae’s videos that combine storytelling with speculative science including Future Day Spa and her seminal work Institute of Isolation.
Future Day Spa presents an immersive experience, evoking the feeling of being hugged which helped induce the body into a state of relaxation. The hypothetical therapy was designed to prepare human subjects for space travel.
Institute of Isolation is an observational documentary that contemplates whether isolation or extreme experience, might be used to increase human resilience for space travel. McRae questions what happens to people when they are traveling in a confined space for decades and how people will prepare for the physiological and mental impacts of this experience.
The exhibition also features McRae’s grotesquely beautiful color digital images created in collaboration with Dutch textile artist Bart Hess between 2007-09. McRae and Hess met at Philips Design in Eindhoven while working in a far-future design research lab, the Probes program, where they speculated on what design technologies might look like in 20 years’ time. In McRae’s and Hess’s images low-tech materials – including balloons, pantyhose, safety pins, grass and bath foam – are used to initiate high-tech conversations about the body. By speculating on fictional technology, McRae and Hess propose a future human body capable of physiological transformations such as color-excreting skin.
Photo: Lucy McRae and Bart Hess
more: ngv.vic.gov.au (48)