Is your rat an artist?
Two related live projects that look at the complex relationships between rats and humans. The Rat Fair event was attended by around 450 people and 40 rats, drawing on the practices of fancy rat breeders and keepers. Attractions included the world premiere of the ‘Is Your Rat an Artist?’ drawing competition in which rat and human collaborated with a software tool to create a drawing, inspired by the Morris water maze used by experimental psychologists. Other attractions included Maxmillian’s Pet Shop with designs by RCA graduates, a chance to design and race a RoboRat, agility training for rats, and a rat beauty parlour with grooming and advice from rat lover Mo Andrew and vet Yvette Fang. Zoologist Manual Berdoy’s Rat Life was also screened.
One Night with Rats in the Service of Art is an illustrated performance lecture which Lucy critically evaluates her aesthetic experiments with rats, and assesses what she achieved, against her original desire to create a Rat Evaluated Artwork.
Seven Minutes in the Service of Rats (2009) is a short film which documents the Rat Fair event held at Camden Arts Centre in 2005. A lo-res version is available online on vimeo. Higher res versions are available for screenings. Filmed and edited by Anab Jain.
Rat Fair/One Night with Rats in the Service of Art
Live event/performance lecture
Rat Fair event held at Camden Arts Centre, London, 2005
One Night with Rats in the Service of Art performance lectures given at
  1. Camden Arts Centre, London
  2. Rules of Engagement sci-art conference, York
  3. Goldsmiths College, London
Film documenting Rat Fair event: Seven Minutes with Rats in the Service of Art (2009)
The project is featured in a chapter by art historian Steve Baker in the new book Animal Encounters (Manuela Rossini and Tom Tyler (eds)), 2008
Project development supported by AHRC creative and performing arts fellowship at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art and a sci-art Experiment Award from the Wellcome Trust
The project was created with help from curator Simon Gould, curator at the National Institute for Medical Research, experimental psychologist Dr Rob Deacon from Oxford University, and rat lover Sheila Sowter. IYRAA software created in collaboration with Something and Herbie Mueller.
Drawings created by rat/human/software at the Rat Fair, 2005