The Making of Incarnation
Deep within the archives of time-and-motion pioneer Lillian Gilbreth lies a secret. Famous for producing solid light-tracks that captured the path of workers’ movements, Gilbreth helped birth the era of mass observation and big data. But did she also, as her broken correspondence with a young Soviet physicist suggests, discover in her final days a “perfect” movement, one that would “change everything”?
An international hunt begins for the one box missing from her records, and we follow contemporary motion-capture consultant Mark Phocan, as well as his collaborators and shadowy antagonists, across geopolitical fault lines and through strata of personal and collective history. Meanwhile, work is under way on the blockbuster movie Incarnation,an epic space tragedy.
As McCarthy peers through the screen, or veil, of technological modernity to reveal the underlying symbolic structures of human experience, The Making of Incarnationweaves a set of stories one inside the other, rings within rings, a perpetual motion machine. [publisher’s note]