Lauren McCarthy, assistant professor of design media arts in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, has been awarded a STRP ACT award for the creation of a new work called Waking Agents. It will premiere at the STRP festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands on March 29.

McCarthy’s exhibit is based on the idea that our bedrooms are being invaded by smart, technologically-enhanced pillows that play music, follow our sleeping patterns and wake us up. In the installation, McCarthy invites participants to lay down and take a nap on a smart pillow. Integrated intelligence serves as a guide, mentor and carer while people drift away between consciousness and subconsciousness. 

The STRP award for creative technology consists of three prizes for makers who connect the worlds of art and technology in an authentic way. STRP ACT includes one prize of 20,000 euros for the realization of new work by proven talent and two prizes of 15,000 euros for the realization of new work by young talents. 

McCarthy is an artist based in Los Angeles, California, and Brooklyn, New York, whose work explores current social and technological systems and structures for being a person and interacting with other people. McCarthy has exhibited at Ars Electronica, Conflux Festival, SIGGRAPH, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Japan Media Arts Festival, and worked on installations for the London Eye, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.