Enter the virtual world of Björk

Few contemporary musicians have devoted their life to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in music, art and technology as much as Björk. In her last album Biophilia, the Icelandic artist included an app with games that had mystical scientific themes relating to each song and narrated by David Attenborough. It was a mixed affair but showed her eagerness in experimenting with technology. So if anyone was going to introduce virtual reality to the music video, it was always going to be Björk.

 

Björk, Stonemilker VR ©Andrew Thomas Huang
Björk, Stonemilker VR ©Andrew Thomas Huang

 

Björk Digital at Somerset House until 23 October is an immersive exhibition – a chance to experience four of the videos from the upcoming Vulnicura album through VR technology. Here visitors are guided through various stations with headsets for what the artist hopes to be a private theatrical experience that will connect the audience more closely with her work.

 

Björk, Mouthmantra VR, directed by Jesse Kanda
Björk, Mouthmantra VR, directed by Jesse Kanda

 

So we enter Björk’s mouth in Mouthmantra VR, where the director Jesse Kanda has captured intense footage from inside her mouth whilst singing the title track, her teeth and tongue twisting and seemingly taking on a life of their own. Elsewhere, we are transported to a remote, windswept Icelandic beach for a private one-to-one recital of the first track from Vulnicura.

 

Björk Digital, Vulnicura, Somerset House
Björk Digital, Vulnicura, Somerset House

 

One of the main hurdles of VR is having access to the headsets, so this exhibition works well in offering the virtual experience. However, VR is still in its infancy and the experience can often feel a little clunky. What Somerset House offers brilliantly is to allow us to imagine the technology’s potentials, how it will evolve in the near future. And much like Björk the artist, Björk Digital pushes the limits of exhibitions – for this is a fusion of art show, film screening and tech demo… and really worth visiting.

Nargess Banks

Björk Digital Somerset House ©Santiago Felipe
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