Björk is not only a musical goddess, but also a visual artist long been experimenting with digital media. This autumn (until 23rd October) Somerset House in London hosts a pioneering exhibition showcasing Björk’s attempt to deliver music in virtual reality.
The show is somewhat of a “work in progress” virtual reality experience. On one hand because this potential medium has still so much to evolve, secondly because the presentation of the technology needs to support the content and be synced with the performance in quality.
Björk Digital is still a wonderful exhibition, making us wonder about what could be in the future, how far we can blend realities and on how many levels we can experience music and sound.
The show opens in a dark room showing Black Lake by Andrew Thomas Huang across two screens, surrounded by various speakers. The eleven minute film is a powerful story which drama is elevated by the sound system – by walking around the room one can experience it from different point of views. (The whole exhibition is based on her latest album, Vulnicura, painfully depicting her divorce)
The next three rooms are the actual VR sections of the show – what you see is headsets placed on stools, as the action is happening “on the other side”. The super-reality of the unreal is amazing, even though it makes you dizzy and the quality is not quite there ( I assume Björk herself aimed for something we don’t yet have the perfect technology for). Basically, you see three video clips – Björk on the beach, Björk being a virtual mess of waves and energy lines and the third one makes you feel you are inside of her mouth, a very bizarre one.
You can look around, up and down, you are in one space with Björk – sometimes she walks over you, other times she is singing next to you or looking directly at you. The forth video is intended to be more mobile, as you can walk around her – unfortunately my cables got tangled, so my room for maneuver was restricted.
The very end of the show offers 2 hours of Björk videos in a pitch dark room on a huge screen, which is actually a relief for the eye after the intensity of the VR. All in all, being a huge Björk fan, I really enjoyed her digital experiment, and if possible she has become more complex, more distinct, and this show just confirms what a truly wonderful artist Björk is.
The show is on in London until 23rd October and will be moved to Reykjavik from November.