Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: artist Lucy McRae shows us the experiments she's been doing with emergency blankets and vacuum cleaners in our second behind-the-scenes preview of next week's Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition.
McRae's piece for the exhibition is a speculative vacuum chamber designed to prepare the human body for long-distance space travel.
Interplanetary travel will become common, McRae believes, but first we need to develop ways of helping the body withstand the rigours of zero gravity during lengthy journeys through space.
"NASA has been developing these lower body negative pressure devices used to increase bloodflow [and] reduce hypertension," she explains. "There are all these different body improvements happening through pressure around the body. So I'm letting that medical or science story give me the leads for how to develop my concept."
McRae has been working out the best way to create her installation by vacuum-packing herself in different plastic membranes, including the emergency blankets that are often used by marathon runners after a race.
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"The material kind of drips off the body like a metal, which is weirdly beautiful," McRae says. "I like the fact that you're kind of getting into a surface or a wall, so I'd like to play around with creating a huge big membrane that people can get inside of."
McRae also wants to enhance people's senses while they are in the chamber and has been experimenting with a foetal Doppler, used to detect a baby's heartbeat when it's in the womb.
"I want to create this feeling of pressure around the skin but then also amplify the senses of the people inside," she says. "I have no idea how I'm going to do that yet. But this [Doppler] is my new toy."