Compression Cradle


Compression Cradle envisages a future world where mechanical touch is an antidote for today’s ‘forever connectedness.’ As people increasingly handle devices more than human flesh, we create opportunities for technology to vie for our affections. How will art, design, and business cater to society’s evolving physical and emotional needs?
Compression Cradle is a machine that affectionately squeezes the body with a sequence of aerated volumes. Through a choreography of touch sensations, this mechanism assists in altering the expression of oxytocin—the hormone released in the brain, responsible for building trust and pair bonding. This immersive artwork is a playful and mechanical antidote to the lack of human touch that will become more extreme in the future.
We have gained critical insight into the calming effect Compression Cradle’s mechanical touch has on autistic people and research continues on the future of touch, empathy, and the human condition.
Compression Cradle, like all of Lucy’s projects, is deeply committed to a single objective: the preservation of humanity.


Co-commission by Het Nieuwe Instituut and Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences
Artist: Lucy McRae
Creative producer: Alice Parker
Machine fabrication: Machine Histories
Custom soft goods: Anjia Jalac
Studio team: Minah Kim, Fiona Ng & Brendan Ho
Co-curators: Francien Van Westrenen, Angela Rui, Marina Otero, Keinton Butler
Photography: Scottie Cameron, Daria Scagliola
Special thanks to: Keinton Butler, Guus Beumer, Mark Van Veen, Ellen Zoete, Angela Rui, Steven Joyner & Jason Pilarski

Lucy McRae (GB) is a science fiction artist, filmmaker, inventor, and body architect, who works across installation, film, photography, artificial intelligence, and edible technology. Her work speculates on the future of human existence, exploring the limits of the body, beauty, biotechnology, and the self as well as the cultural and emotional impacts science and technology have on redesigning the body. Lucy has exhibited internationally at museums, film festivals, MIT, Ars Electronica, NASA, and science forums and is recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.