Lauren Lee McCarthy, an associate professor of design media arts at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, has been named a Sundance Institute interdisciplinary program grantee and an “Art of Practice” fellow in the field of emerging media. McCarthy's work examines social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation and algorithmic living. 

The institute’s interdisciplinary program comes as a response to challenges faced by creators during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program cultivates the cross-pollination of artists at various stages in their respective practices to create a dynamic, year-round community. Each grantee is supported in a designated field or combination of fields, including emerging media, interdisciplinary, music and/or theater.

In unison with the interdisciplinary program, McCarthy’s fellowship will focus on these new communities, offering opportunity, exploration and inclusive recovery. Fellows will support peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor conversations and have the opportunity for in-person residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the UCross Foundation. 

McCarthy is also currently exhibiting a film called “IA Suzie” at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, Germany. The work depicts a week-long durational performance in which McCarthy and David Leonard, UCLA alumnus and lecturer at UCLA Arts, embody the role of an artificial intelligence virtual caregiver in the home of an 80-year-old woman. Throughout the process, the artists documented the relationship with an array of 360-degree cameras capturing panoptic views into various rooms in the home, giving a direct lens into the ethical dilemmas of artificial intelligence.

The work is being shown as part of the museum’s exhibition “Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning Human Dreams,” will show through Aug. 28, 2022.