Designer Focus
  • Meta.Morph by Úna Burke
  • Meta.Morph by Úna Burke
  • Meta.Morph by Úna Burke
< Back to features
7 May 2011 By Mariel Reed


META.MORPH is the collaborative project of NJAL's accessories designer Úna Burke, film director Andreas Waldschütz and his creative team, of creative director Adia Trischler and photographer Stefan Sappert.

Having met through a previous project called Sand-People, Úna, Andreas, Adia and the team began planning this multi-media project last December. Stefan was brought on board when his exceptional skills in the rare and specialised area of Wet Plate Photography were discovered by Andreas. All paths finally met in Vienna early this month to produce an experimental art film and a series of glass plate photographs featuring Úna’s Autumn-Winter 2011 collection.

This most recent collection of sculptural accessories and armour-like body pieces investigates the changes that occur when prosthetic limbs and medical braces are applied to a body. Here Úna examines the obvious physical alteration in appearance but also the social and mental impact, noticing in particular, the possible depreciation of attention to the identity of the wearer, with the prosthetic becoming such a prominent attribute. Irony lies in the coexistence of positivity and negativity as the improvement of the physical capability of the wearer ultimately has the potential for social inhibition.

In the research stages of this project Úna was struck by a series images called “Beautiful Pictures”. These were developed by the disabled artist Nicola Lane in 2001 for an installation called Aesthetics of Prosthetics. Lane is informed by her experience of disability, exploring themes of fragmentation and loss and their effect on self image. One particular image made a strong impression on Úna. In this a woman sits with her prosthetic leg exposed but covering her face with a newspaper in order to hide her identity.

Interpreting this feeling of discomfort Úna has created one piece for her collection which masks the face from the eyes down, preserving the identity of the wearer yet simultaneously inhibiting the ability to speak and be heard. Other pieces within the collection support the chest, back, and arms in a restrictive yet remedial fashion.

Model wearing body piece by Úna Burke

This theme is taken further through the experimental film which combines the inspirations that arose from the collection, with an influence from Michael Snow’s iconic 1967 experimental film ‘Wavelength’, the cinepoems of Man Ray and jarring aspects of psychological horror. Here we gain further insight into feelings of claustrophobia, confusion and entrapment as we watch the body developing and evolving with the character learning to use these new appendages.

The collaborative project will be launched as part of London Fashion Week at Úna’s ‘Vauxhall Fashion Scout’ Presentation. This event will be a synthesized haunting experience, comprising of wet plate images directed and executed by Andreas Waldschütz and Stefan Sappert, installations from Úna’s Autumn-Winter 2011 collection and experimental film scripted by Adia Trischler.