Artistic invention: Swallowable Parfum
Artistic invention: Swallowable Parfum

Artistic invention: Swallowable Parfum

Imagine if everyone could have their own unique perfume – no two fragrances alike.

Australian artist Lucy McRae, with Italy-based synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy, has invented a capsule that enables the skin to emit a unique scent during perspiration. This could be the end of smelly gym gear.

Training as a classical ballerina for 14 years with a background in architecture, Lucy is fascinated with the body, creating images that challenge the traditional idea of the body, beauty and appearance. Using low-tech materials like cue tips, paper clips, thumb tacks and deflated balloons she uses art, technology and sculpture to reshape the human silhouette, blurring the line between what is part of the body and what is artistic addition.

Now interested in moving her fascination with the body to the internal, Lucy is artistically exploring altering the idea of body and beauty through scents, creating swallowable parfum. After ingesting and digesting the perfume pill, a fragrance is emitted through the skin upon perspiration. So like the smell of garlic lingering post last night’s spaghetti bolognaise – only less unpleasant – the fragrance, unique to a person’s own biology, will linger daintily post a work-out or simply on a hot day, forever combating sweaty smells.

The recipient of a 2012 TED fellowship, Lucy works across music videos, fashion advertising, photography and film in her role as a body architect, with her most recent collaboration directing a short film for Aesop in Amsterdam (where she is based).


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