This Installation of the Week is brought to you by that experimental Icelandic chanteuse known as Björk. For the less musically adventurous segment of our readership, she’s the one that made headlines back in 2001 with that iconic swan dress on the red carpet at the 73rd Academy Awards. Here again, the artist is blazing trails with a similar combination of aural and visual mediums around her most recent album Vulnicura, which had a companion exhibition open at the Somerset House’s London venue on September 1.
This evolving exhibition will feature 14 360-degree virtual reality videos, one for each track on the album and all helmed by different directors. Inspired by her breakup with longtime partner Matthew Barney, Vulnicura is emotionally raw and largely improvisatory, which matches the frenetic visuals that accompany the music through VR headsets worn by the audience. For example, one video entitled “Mouth Mantra” transports the viewer directly inside Björk’s mouth as she sings.
“I see myself as someone who builds bridges between the human things we do every day, and technology,” Björk said. “So when the laptop came, it meant I didn’t need a studio any more. I hate them anyway, they don’t have windows and they are really expensive, but now I can write my music wherever.”
In addition to pioneering multimedia expression, Björk created an app for interactive displays that feature song lyrics and composition programs. The only issue is that, for the time being, one has to attend the Somerset House or a similar venue to be able to experience all this innovation.
“We understood that we needed a home for all the video apps until people have those headsets at home,” said Björk. “So this exhibition is almost like bridge building while the technology is growing.”