Our first collaboration with Lucy McRae, Morphē playfully presages a new juncture for science and beauty in a speculative tale that embodies thematic aspects of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty.
However, the film departs from these classics by emphasising an adroit marriage of science and nature – an allusion to Aesop’s philosophy and formulations.
About Lucy McRae and the creative impetus behind Morphē
Of her relationship with Aesop and the genesis of the film, Lucy McRae writes:
My work is seeded from instinct. My process is primitive, driven and inspired by my immediate surroundings. I think Aesop has subliminal effects on people. I feel we are both creating alternate worlds which are sincere and unafraid.
Dennis [Paphitis, Aesop's founder] and I first met in 2011, and began to discuss the idea of collaborating on a short film. We met several times afterwards in Melbourne and Paris; Dennis would share his ideas, referencing films and books, and I would incessantly take notes.
Using my camera as a microscope, I worked like a scientist, observing and recording all the tests I made. I would send snapshots to Aesop to discuss their direction and receive more ideas in response. I spent two months in pre-production with a team building machines and props for the film. Then we built up the set in an old Amsterdam church and spent two intense days shooting.
The narrative is inspired by nineteenth-century physicist and philosopher Herman Ludwig Helmholtz and his research on human perception. He wrote: 'A human being is like a rubber ball wrapped in an extremely delicate membrane. Different areas of the ball's surface elicit different senses. Our image of the world is based on the multi-various stimuli that are perceived on the membrane and transmitted to the ball's nucleus, the brain.' More succinctly, he commented that 'Everything is an event on the skin'.
Lucy McRae is an Australian artist, designer and compulsive inquisitor based in Amsterdam. Over time, she has fused her training as a classical ballerina with an inherent fascination with the human body to forge a unique profession: Body Architect.