Björk Digital: A glimpse of the future for modern music videos?
The above video shows a trailer for “Family VR” which is the next track lifted from Björk’s 2015 album Vulnicura to receive the Virtual Reality treatment, and from the snippet it looks to be yet another visually captivating and intrusive piece of art. Björk has always been a pioneering force when it comes to technology with the likes of 2001’s Vespertine being created from micro-beats through humble laptop software to 2011’s first ever app-album Biophilia which had musical instruments invented for it. I was lucky enough to go to London and witness the Björk: Digital exhibition with my own eyes and take a glimpse into the possible future for music videos. The Virtual Reality headgear was large and clunky but makes up for the immediate transportation you experience from a stool in a dark room with other strangers to an intimate one on one moment between you and Björk herself as she croons “Stonemilker” directly into your eyes on a cold, grey, Icelandic beach. As my friend who came with me pointed out, the temptation to reach out and kiss her was only stopped by the idea of me falling off the stool and slapping back into the dark room. Before this first VR video was a cinematic showing of “Black Lake” from two large screens and 360° surround sound speakers to emphasise her and Arca’s volcanic production. The difficulty here was choosing which screen to look at as they sat completely 180° to each other so heads were turning quite often, leaving us worried about whether we were missing something good from the other screen. For the other VR videos; “Mouth Mantra” placed you on the singers tongue whilst her teeth and gums twisted and swirled around you and the minimising effect you felt was other worldly. “Quicksand” was a colourful affair with flying sparks and multiple silhouettes of Björk disintergrating into golden sand. The final video “NotGet” would have been the most exciting, invasive experience with the image of a demon-esque Björk avatar (similar to that in the video above) growing larger and more intimidating before towering over you to the dark, pulsating beats of the song had it not been for the constant glitches which made me leave the showcase with a deep frustration after such highs, nevertheless I left with an even bigger appreciation for Björk if that were possible. The technology is still in its early days as each video was of an expected lower quality and the sound could have been louder for my liking, however, as a peak of things to come, Luna is casting some very excitable light.