A Trip to Take: Björk Digital at Somerset House

The Björk Digital exhibition hosted at Somerset House is a craftily curated selection of the Icelandic singer’s most out of this world digital projects to date. A majority of the video works come from her latest album, Vulnicura, which is set to be re-released as a virtual reality experience in the Winter. The exhibit will be running daily until the 23 October 2016.

The exhibit leads you through a maze of rooms, beginning with the showing of Björk’s film for Black Lake. Once finished, guests are in for a treat as they are led into four separate rooms, each furnished with a virtual reality headset and a stool with a spinning seat. The room goes dark as guests are closely introduced to Björk, tilting their heads and turning on the stool as she belts her unique music, rhythmically dancing around the screen. The virtual reality is surrealism at its finest, taking you on a neon colored induced trip through gorgeous Icelandic landscapes, far away galaxies, and even into Björk’s mouth. Known for collaborating with film directors, a two hour collection of Björk’s best and most artistic music videos plays for the final visual aspect of the exhibit, where guests are invited to sprawl out on the floor and enjoy her quirky sounds.

One of the strongest pieces in the exhibition was her introductory film Black Lake. The film was created in collaboration with director Andrew Huang and features two screens of opposing viewpoints, lucid surround sound, and costumes designed by Iris Van Herpen. Björk’s emotions could be felt throughout the dark room and the double screens urged the attendees to interact and move with her, her movements reassuring the beat of the music.

Traveling through the virtual reality rooms, guests spin around on the stools, turning their heads in all directions to catch a glimpse of where the singer -dressed in neon yellow- disappeared to during Stonemilker. In Mouthmantra, guests are given a personal tour of the inside of Björks mouth, which occasionally transforms into a galaxy of teeth looking out to see Björk singing. These three parts particularly merged art and reality in true Björk fashion.

To some, virtual reality can be a daunting concept to understand. When you’re wearing the headset it feels as though you can reach out and touch what you are seeing. I found myself engaging with the reality, looking up and down, eagerly spinning whenever Bjork made a movement to see where she’d go next. It’s interesting to see how technology can become reality by placing an oversized set of goggles over your head. Overall, Bjork’s fusion of digital, reality, and art created an incredibly surrealist exhibit which allowed guests to tap into the weirdness of Bjork’s mind, experiencing it for themselves.

 

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