It’s not every pop star who is seriously concerned with the emotional possibilities in technology. But Björk has always seemed to be operating with a wider vista in mind for her art than the average musician. Indeed, it’s difficult to think of many artists who have been so risk friendly as Ms. Guðmundsdóttir; moving between the avant-garde supergroup Kukl, to the bent pop of The Sugarcubes, through house, showtunes, rock, post-rock, electronica and more as Björk. Increasingly her work has included an interactive visual and audio element; most obviously with the release of Biophilia and its apps. Opening in LA on the 22nd of May Björk Digital may be the ultimate incarnation of these interests.
Billed as “an exhibition of ground-breaking VR video works featuring music from Björk’s latest album, Vulnicura”; the exhibition has toured the world, appearing in Australia, England, Iceland and now the US. Featuring VR experiences of her songs Stonemilker, Quicksand, Notget, Mouthmantra and more; the exhibition merges art exhibition, performance, bleeding-edge technology. As overwhelming as this may sound it’s actually a very intimate and personal experience, with the joy Björk takes in the creation of her work palpable to the attendee.
Feedback from the exhibition previously has been that Björk has pushed the technology available to its absolute limits. This lead to some issues with the visuals; but any qualms were small compared to the sheer ambition and emotion on display. The overwhelming feeling of being lost in the Björkosphere, adrift in the very outer limits of how our imaginations can be rendered tangible. Björk Digital remains a very real examination of art, technology, intimacy and music from one of our true originals.
Björk has used collaboration as a key part of her work. Her work available in sheet music is perhaps her most radical example of this. In her own words:
“I wanted to question how I felt about musical documentation. When CDs were slowly becoming obsolete, I was curious about the difference of midi (digital notation) and classical notation. I was also enthusiastic in blurring the lines and at which occasions and how one would share music in these new times… Maybe I should share digital notation that people could connect to their synths. Or do harpsichord versions of electronic beats to enjoy in the living rooms and hopefully families singalong to”.