Along with androids and hover cars, it seems we can now add ‘perfume in a pill’ to our list of what can be anticipated in the not-too-distant future. Indeed, ‘body architect’ Lucy McRae hopes to retail her innovative new concept product, Swallowable Parfum, by 2023.
The concept launch, hosted at Collingwood warehouse gallery Pin-Up last week, had everyone thinking about the future of technology and cosmetics.
Unveiling her consumable perfume with a fascinating live performance, which included a makeshift laboratory and ultra-futuristic costumes by Chorus, McRae combined art and science in a way that has come to characterise her unique practice.
So how does it work? Still in the developmental phase, the pill is made up of a fragrant lipid molecule which mimics the natural fat molecules found in the body. When the body metabolises these lipids, fragrant molecules are released through the skin. As each body is genetically unique, so too will be the perfume we perspire. “Basically, you are given a biologically enhanced odour,” McRae explains. “The skin then becomes an accessory.”
Known for her quirky inventions including a dress that changes colour and shape according to your mood, McRae cites her love of science and technology as her driving force. “I feel that the evolution of the body and technology shouldn’t be left solely to scientists and engineers,” she explains. “I think artists and creative people should also be sculpting the future of where technology is going to create an even more dynamic future.”
Working out of her studios in Amsterdam, McRae chose Melbourne for her debut performance work and was overwhelmed with the reaction. “The response has been unanimous,” she says. “It’s a really special thing, a really proud moment for me to do my first solo show in the place I grew up and where I really resonate with the people.”
Working with synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy, the prospect of the product being on the market in the next 10 years is a realistic one and the positive reception at the launch suggests it might just be a hot little item on the shelves one day.