Björk embraces the innovative and creative world of virtual reality to send viewers on an exploration of her latest visual album.
As we all know, virtual reality has generated quite the buzz around town recently, with the production of video games, interactive shorts, and full-length feature films. Now that VR technology is more accessible to consumers and artists, through equipment like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard, we are very likely to see more creators use it as a form of content construction and exploration. In the most recent fashion, Icelandic singer, songwriter, and actress Björk has utilized virtual reality to present her latest visual album.
Since her start in 1987, Björk has fastened her place in the world of creativity and expression through music and art. From the start of her career until now, she has embraced the growing nature of technology, and the various ways she saw fit to progressively further her career. But perhaps it is more than just that for Björk. In a Facebook post she wrote, “technology is enabling women to work outside the already formed hierarchical systems. the laptop arriving 1999 gave me a personal studio to make vespertine , the touchscreen 2006 helped me map my own idiosyncratic musicology outside the classical canon and reconnect it w nature and make biophilia , VR is helping making a new stage free of politics where sound and vision is swirling free in 360 fully liberated.” It seems, for her, this growing world of virtual reality is helping to free stereotypes and misconceptions of gender, and gender based biases, while allowing artist a place to create and explore their creativity with no boundaries.
Earlier this month, Björk opened an exhibit at the London Design Biennial HQ, Somerset House that explores a new way to experience her album, Vulnicura. Titled “Björk Digital,” the artist is embracing virtual reality, augmented reality, 360 degree video, and soundscaping to project her visions of love and loss. But never before have all these features been combined and used in this growing capacity. Longtime co-collaborator James Merry expresses “No-one’s really figured that out yet and stepping into uncharted territory is always nerve-wracking but thrilling. I think it’s brave as an independent artist to put yourself forward and be the first to take these new toys and try to put emotion and spontaneity into them. If artists don’t do that, then who will?!” I think we can fully trust Björk in the exploration of this medium.
Spanning over 8 different rooms, Björk has created distinctive ways for audiences to experience her visual album. From her first stop in New York, which saw the rise of her first piece for “Black Lake” at the MOMA, to her current stop in London, Björk revealed that each time the exhibit is presented, a new aspect will be added. Through use of virtual reality and 3 dimensional projects, it becomes clear, as attendees move from room to room, that interaction is key for the artist. But perhaps this becomes extremely overwhelming in Mouthmantra VR, which captures footage from inside Björk’s mouth as she sings.
Björk Digital is currently being displayed at Somerset House, in London, from September 1st to October 23rd.