Five Days of Food, Part Four: Body Architect Lucy McRae Fuses Science and Art for a Lurid Feast
A crude laboratory plays host to a series of macabre experiments in this short from the burgeoning artist and filmmaker Lucy McRae. Inside, glowing comestibles drip and flow to mold bodily shapes that are then harvested, sliced and repackaged for consumption. Having featured in such publications as Dazed & Confused and Wallpaper*, as well as directing the award-winning Morphē for the skin care brand Aēsop, this latest endeavor from the self-styled “Body Architect” explores how food connects to the body, inside and out. “Everything is edible,” says McRae of her gelatinous props. “The stuff on the model’s face is inked rice paper, and the jellies on her body are molded agar agar, which is made from natural seaweed.” The impulse to show what we are turn into what we eat—and vice versa—was inspired by an encounter with Vietnamese restaurateur Nahji Chu whose outlets in the director's native Australia merge the culinary arts with an investigation of cultural and individual identity. Taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of production, from the cinematography to the science, McRae adds a personal element to that notion of synthesis, inspired by human biology. “The idea is to create genetic manipulations,” she explains. “Eating them is a transdermal absorption.”
The Legendary Director Peels Back the Layers On His Ideals of Beauty
In a New York hotel, prolific Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar muses upon femininity and beauty in light of his current macabre pulp fiction movie, The Skin I Live In. Acknowledging how his matriarchal upbringing and the advent of 1960s pop culture informed his vision, Almodóvar reveals to filmmaker Alison Chernick his obsession with strong and stunning women such as screen icons Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, and of course Penélope Cruz, the star of several of his notable films including All About My Mother and Volver. His 19th feature, an audacious contribution to the body horror canon adapted from Thierry Jonquet’s novella Tarantula, sees Almodóvar reunited with Antonio Banderas for the first time in 21 years, with the actor starring as a plastic surgeon who experiments upon his exquisite young captive, Vera (Elena Anaya). “It was deceiving,” Chernick says. “In front of me was this gentle and playful teddy bear-like man, responsible for the madness of this insane revenge horror saga. The film plays with our expectations in a similar fashion to the way our own minds do.”
Jim Goldberg Captures the Swedish Pop Star's Inner World on Super 8
In this intimate portrait, documentary filmmaker and Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg goes beneath the surface of peroxide pop star Robyn’s veracious persona and quirky style. Filmed on Super 8 around her performance at this summer’s Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, the short reveals the Grammy Award-nominee dancing with fans backstage, giving us insight into her undiluted energy. Known for his use of text-overlaid imagery, Goldberg has shot subjects as diverse as Somalian refugees, NYC sex workers, Condoleezza Rice and Dennis Hopper. Described as "direct, independent and intuitive" by the Swedish singer, he was granted unique access as the pair developed their concept collaboratively through an extensive exchange. Goldberg asked Robyn, "What's it like to be immersed in your world?" Her deeply personal monologue, layered with a mix of the single "Indestructible" from the 2010 album Body Talk, provides an unrestricted view of the sincere ambition behind her career. Here we document their creative process via excerpts from their e-mail dialogue.
Robyn: Hello Jim. I'm curious about you. Lets start talking about stuff. What time zone are you on? I'm in LA. R
Jim: Hello Robyn, from the road. Would love to speak. Very much looking forward to working with you and creating something excellent. Bye, Jim
Robyn: Ok, let's speak Friday! I'm on a plane that lands in San Francisco around noon. I can call you then?
Robyn: I like your idea about moving through the crowd, it's such an intimate thing to do before a show. I'd like to talk to you about things I could do walking through the crowd: I am a careful, but quite brave person. I don't think I would be the one making out with a dude and throwing a towel at the camera. I'd probably dance with someone instead or whisper something funny in their ear and when I got to the stage I'd dance some more. But the tough energy, the in-the-moment thing you want, I get.
Jim: Hello Robyn, Yesterday I worked with an editor and came up with a very quick, rough sketch of a way to make the NOWNESS video of you. There is of course a lot more footage of you dancing and you on stage with the band... (it's all really good!) and the final piece will incorporate everything. Also the exposure hasn’t been adjusted and that will be opened up more and change the look. I'm trying to make it a collage so that the audience experiences a variety of working methodologies and it works on a visceral level. I would love some suggestions for music. For instance, what were you and the other dancers listening to on your mix tape on your iPod? Or is there a new song that you are working on?
Robyn: I'm thinking of what this could be. I have a feeling that a hard beat or a really amped up club track won't fit what you’re doing. I have no recorded unreleased songs just lying around, but a remix or a stripped version of one of my songs could work. I thought about maybe recording something with my band. Let's discuss!
Jim: I've integrated ambient sounds into the piece, including the sounds of feet dancing. One other idea is that I remember you making sounds when you were dancing alone for me in the trees, more like a “wooooosh” or “waaaah”. Would love to add that sound too. As far as the text, I would like you to write something that is intimate and personal and reveals who you are. What’s it like to be immersed in your world? Perhaps we could record you saying what you write on a phone answering machine… so that the sound is scratching and adds another level… Bye from San Francisco, Jim
To read a short interview with Robyn about fresh dance moves and what she misses most while touring visit our Facebook page here.