In a retrospective view of Björk’s work, it is rather safe to say that Virtual Reality (VR) was her natural field of expansion. From the simplicity of “Big Time Sensuality” to the digital flares of “Crystalline”, the artist has instilled in us a taste for the glare and in this exhibit she brings the audience into the show itself.
However, the experience falls short and becomes a succession of chairs, glasses, and five videos. “Black Lake” recycles the beautiful landscapes of “Joga” only introducing a surround system and two screens. With “Stonemilker” we are told to sit and wear the VR glasses to see a 360º video with the singer reproducing is sort of mitosis. The attractive element is that the audience can choose what to watch while simultaneous actions take place.
The video of “Mouth Mantra” recovers the asexual intimacy of “Cocoon” turning it into grotesque, but we could drop the VR and it would feel the same. “Quicksand” and “Not Get”, the pieces that I enjoyed the most, develop the lightful flares of digital video that intrigue the artist. The last piece was particularly stimulating as I could walk around and examine the luminous figure growing besides me.
Björk Digital is an interesting first attempt at VR music videos but the monstrous glasses on top of the headphones are not even near to be comfortable. Truth be told, while the installation was enough, the team at Somerset house could have provided better guidance and a bit more spacious rooms to make the experience more comfortable. The surrounding chairs or cables restricting your movement reminded you of the analogue beyond the VT glasses. At some point we might be looking at online virtual concerts from home but this is still far from materializing.
From 1 Sept to 23 Oct.