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Isolation optimisation

13.07.2016 The Optimised Self : Lucy Mcrae : Lucy McRae
The Institute of Isolation by Lucy McRae and Lotje Sodderland at The Science Museum, London

London – A short film entitled The Institute of Isolation proposes a training programme aimed at optimising the brain and the body through sensory deprivation and complete separation from society.

Based on the premise of human-driven evolution, The Institute of Isolation is an extension of McRae’s research into the physical and psychological challenges of long-term survival in space. The narrative follows the protagonist through a series of extreme experiences, from testing the psycho-acoustics of silence in an anechoic chamber, a room designed to absorb sound, to a session on a microgravity trainer, a horizontal wheel runway that enables her to walk in mid-air.

The training is designed to help us understand and manage our mental and emotional reactions to the experience of extreme social and sensory isolation. ‘It’s part of necessary preparation for space travel. We can measure and project how our bodies will respond, but our psychological responses are unpredictable,’ McRae tells LS:N Global.

The project aims to encourage cross-disciplinary debate about augmenting the body. ‘We are at a really interesting point now where human-driven evolution is happening exponentially because of advancements in genetic engineering, CRISPR, the sequencing of DNA and the commercialisation of space travel,’ explains McRae. ‘It has to become a public debate.’

The Big Picture

Scientific advances are opening up new possibilities for human augmentation. For more on how consumers are seeking to enhance their brains and bodies, read our macrotrend The Optimised Self.