Lee McCarthy

Lauren Lee McCarthy

She // Her // Hers
They // Them // Theirs

[ID: Lauren, a Chinese-American woman with short dark hair and a black collared shirt smiles at the camera.]

Performance Artist
Los Angeles, CA
2021 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the USA Endowment Fund.

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. McCarthy’s work consists of performances inviting viewers to engage. To remote-control her dates. To be followed. To welcome her in as their human smart home. To attend a party hosted by artificial intelligence. In these interactions, there is a reciprocal risk taking and vulnerability, as performer and audience are both challenged to relinquish control, both implicated, as each reformulate their own relationship to the systems that govern our lives.

She is a 2020 Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow, 2020 Eyebeam Rapid Response Fellow, and 2019 Creative Capital grantee and has been a resident at Eyebeam, ZERO1, CMU STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Autodesk, NYU ITP, and Ars Electronica. She is a recipient of grants from the Knight Foundation, the Online News Association, Mozilla Foundation, Google AMI, Turner Broadcasting, and Rhizome. Her work SOMEONE was awarded the Ars Electronica Golden Nica and the Japan Media Arts Social Impact Award; LAUREN was awarded the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction.

She is also the creator of p5.js, an open-source art and education platform that prioritizes access and diversity in learning to code, with over 1.5 million users. She expands on this work in her role as a director of the Processing Foundation, whose mission is to serve those who have historically not had access to the fields of technology, code, and art. McCarthy is an associate professor at UCLA.

Portrait photo by Kyle McDonald.
  • Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy
    Follower, 2015–present. Performance, software, photography. Installation view of SITUATIONS/Follower exhibition at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland. Photo by Philipp Ottendörfer.
    [ID: Four iPhones mounted on a white wall display photos: a person in a cafe, at a public pool, in the rain holding an umbrella under a tree, on a pier.]
  • Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy
    Exhibition view of LAUREN, 2017–2020. Performance, software, installation, film. Photo by Franz Wamhof.
    [ID: View of an Installation in gallery with bed, nightstands, carpet, lights, all in white. On the left is a white pedestal with small purple sculptures set on top of it.]
  • Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy
    24h HOST, 2017–present. Performance, software, installation. Created in collaboration with Casper Schipper. Photo by Yifan Zhang and Zhiyang Gao.
    [ID: Viewed through a fisheye lens, a Chinese man sits at a table in a small room with brown walls and a tiled floor. A bathrobe and posters hang on the wall, and a plant and bar cart sit on the floor. In the foreground, a phrase written in marker reads "as long as the software runs, the party will never end..."]
Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy Artwork by Lauren Lee McCarthy