Morphé / 3:30 minutes
Artist name: Lucy McRae
Having recognized a kindred sensibility in McRae’s provocative work, Australian skincare brand Aēsop commissioned her to conceive a short film to coincide with their website relaunch. ‘Morphē’ playfully presages a new juncture for science and beauty, transforming an old Amsterdam church into a meticulously ordered space that references Aesop’s own laboratory. Here, a painstaking Scientist employs an assortment of gels, liquids, and weird contraptions to minister arcane beauty treatments to a sleeping Muse. At the edge of this world, the skin and hair play key roles for the female specimen fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a new kind of super-sensory beauty treatment.
McRae describes her film inspired chiefly by nineteenth-century scientist and philosopher Hermann von Helmholtz, and his revolutionary research on human perception: ‘Everything’, wrote Helmholtz, ‘is an event on the skin’. ‘I wanted to suggest a journey inside a world beyond skin care, one that involves farther realms of perception within the sensory landscape of the human body. The skin and hair play key roles for the female specimen fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a new kind of super-sensory beauty treatment.
Lucy McRae is an Australian artist exploring the relationship between the body, technology and the grey areas of synthetic and organic materials.
Trained as a classical ballerina and interior design, Lucy staked her claim as the world’s premier ‘Body Architect’, coining the term in a spirited bid to be hired by consumer electronics giant Philips Design in a far future design research team.
The foundations of her practice are heavily influenced from her formative years at Philips Design, where she was brought in to creatively lead an EU project developing stretchable electronics, an electronic tattoo and a range of emotional sensing dresses, making Time’s Best Inventions 2007.
Each of her projects inhabits an artistic realm that draws heavily from readings and erudition in science, sculpture, digital technologies, architecture and fashion, informed by the fringes and extremes of our culture.
Set on challenging the limits of the body, McRae manipulates the body’s natural structure to invent novel anatomical forms and adornments that are imbued with a haunting visceral realism that has become her creative insignia.
After Philips she set up on her own to focus on a specific topic – one suitable for her personal brand of body architecture. On a search for beauty in the biological McRae created a Swallowable Parfum, a genetically unique fragrance emitted through the skins surface. Her exploration of the borders of the human body led to an invitation to speak at TED on ‘How Technology will Transform the Body’.
As she frays the edges of science and technology, McRae’s clients call on her for short film, sculpture, innovation consultancy and the innate way she examines the future of technology likely to yield new business for brands. Working alongside Nick Knight, Aésop, Proctor & Gamble, Bernard Willhelm, Nowness, Swarovski, Frank Gehry, Channel4, Hyper Island, Bernard Willhelm, Vogue and pop star Robyn.
Invited to sit on the jury at the Venice Biennale amongst the biggest names in architecture and known for speaking at leading digital media and fashion symposiums her work has appeared on the cover of Domus and Frame magazine and featured in The Guardian, Dazed and Confused, WIRED, The Creators project, Wallpaper and CNN. Having exhibited at The Centre Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo, vulnerability is everywhere on show – yet Lucy is in control.
Perhaps partly because of the intriguing ambiguity of her job description or the unconventional duality of her artistic study of technology Lucy is listed as one of the fifty people shaping the future.