Body as Atomizer: Lucy McRae’s Swallowable Parfum Project

Swallowable Parfum is a project by Australian artist Lucy McRae, who explores the relationship between the body and the world at the intersections of biology, technology, and architecture.  In collaboration with Sheref Mansy, a Synthetic Biologist, McRae is producing a capsule meant to be ingested and, once metabolized by the body, a scent is emitted through the skin via sweat. It’s a specially created fragrance that will always be uniquely your own. Here is a snippet from the press release for the project:

Once absorbed, the capsule enables the skin to become a platform, an atomizer; A biologically enhanced second skin synthesized directly from the natural processes of the body. Fragrance molecules are excreted through the skins surface during perspiration, leaving tiny droplets on the skin that emanate a unique odor. The potency of scent is determined by each individual’s acclimatization to temperature, stress, exercise, or sexual arousal.

Swallowable Parfum is a capsule that enables human skin to emit a genetically unique scent about who we are, and how we perform our identities.

Lucy McRae

It’s unclear as to whether or not the project, announced in 2011, will ever be realized, but it’s a fascinating take on how far we are willing to go to establish a unique identity for ourselves in a homogenizing global culture.  McRae’s aesthetic hovers somewhere between haute couture fashion and futuristic sci-fi, and her video work provides a feast for the eyes and ears.  McRae has also worked with Aēsop to produce this gorgeous short film called Morphē:

For more on the work of Lucy McRae, visit her website:

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