Michelle Lord is a visual artist based in Birmingham, England. For the UK’s Architecture Week 2007, she produced an ambitious architectural model based on Jorge Luis Borges’s story “The Immortal,” a labyrinthine world of classical domes and steps leading nowhere.
What novels, music, or films keep you thinking about art and design?
My work is based on literary environments. The short stories and novels of writers like Italo Calvino and J. G. Ballard regularly make me rethink the possibilities of fictional space.
What’s your dream project?
I have plans to build Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker. Environments and architecture making a strong link to science fiction will feature quite strongly in future works.
Is there a specific object that changed how you think about art and design?
What amazes me is gadgetry designed to be dual functional. For example, a Motorola phone that’s also a pair of glasses; a Japanese bra that doubles as a shopping bag; a talking toothbrush; and my personal favorite, an LCD screen belt buckle.
What three buzzwords do you never want to hear applied to your own work?
Terms that gloss over or diminish the work—like “decorative,” “ornate,” or (worse still) “fantasy.”
Where do you see your profession in 20 years?
A key element of my work is how low-tech materials can appear to be digital. With the increase in computer-generated imagery, this notion of the artist as