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Lucy McRae’s FUTUREKIN: Mental Health Machines for a Post-CRISPR World

SCI-Arc is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition by artist, body architect, and SCI-Arc faculty Lucy McRae, entitled FUTUREKIN, opening February 18 in the SCI-Arc Gallery.

FUTUREKIN, McRae’s first solo exhibition at SCI-Arc, will be set in a post-CRISPR world, “where kids are brought to term and grown in complex, sensitive wombs in a lab.” Pointing to a future where childbirth is questioned, McRae considers the new products and methods of care that are traded and handed down, for an advanced reproductive landscape. The speculation entailed in her new series of installations, videos, and sculptures anticipates that “‘future-kids’ develop unfamiliar, neurobiological quirks, through lack of touch and fetal programming that takes place in the womb, by virtue of women being separated from pregnancy, science and biotechnology take on the roles of invitro maternal and paternal surrogates. This far-future ‘what if’ replaces abortion and a plethora of other incomprehensible questions, with enormous, ethical unknowns.”


In FUTUREKIN, three machines will be seen within a form of sports court scenario, “suggesting their recreational use and how they might become integrated into the day-to-day life of these new beings,” as mental health machines designed to compensate for a lack of human touch in early life. Sandwiching the body between layers of thick, sponge-like materials, these machines are designed to build trust and connection, re-enforcing the protective embrace of a parent, gone lost, by virtue of lab grown origins. Fueling important dialogue on the complex realities of human connection and future intimacy, McRae finds opportunities to highlight the evolution of care and nurture in a post-CRISPR techno world––forging new types of future, through science and story.

Says McRae of the exhibition: “I am curious about the human consequences of bypassing the womb and that first hug of a ‘mother’—envisioning a new generation of children having radically different formative years, developing new types of sensitivities and neurobiological quirks. FUTUREKIN questions whether these kids will find new ways for intimacy and togetherness.”

Lucy McRae

More broadly, with FUTUREKIN, McRae seeks to connect the public with science at street level, “where art is no longer a vessel but connected to the bulk of science and tech––cracking open debate around how God-like technologies, such as CRISPR will change what makes us human forevermore.”

Lucy McRae is a science fiction artist, filmmaker, inventor, and body architect. Her work speculates on the future of human existence by exploring the limits of the body, beauty, biotechnology, and the self. McRae works across installation, film, photography, artificial intelligence, and edible technology. She is regarded as a thought leader who is exploring the cultural and emotional impacts science and cutting-edge technology have on redesigning the body. McRae uses art as a mechanism to signal and provoke our ideologies and ethics about who we are and where we are headed.

FUTUREKIN will run in the SCI-Arc Gallery through April 17, 2022. More information can be found on the official SCI-Arc event page here.