Björk – Figuring out where Nature & Music Meet

“One day I must be able to improvise freely on the keyboard of colour: The row of watercolours in my paintbox.”  — Paul Klee

bjork LogoYou can never say that the Icelandic artist and musician, Björk has a creativity deficit. In fact, it’s the opposite. She has a vast creativity surplus!

This overflowing creativity is demonstrated in her recent iPhone and iPad app, Biophillia and her newly revised HTML5 website. The app is a preview of her newest album (scheduled for release in September), but it stands alone as an art work in and of itself. The interface calls to my mind the work of the modern artist, Paul Klee, who was also a trained violinist and throughout his career explored the relationship between visual art and music.

One thing that’s exciting to me about the mobile revolution (and digital media in particular) is the opportunities that it provides creative artists that are willing to take risks and create new forms. Biophillia extends both music and digital art as well as the form that we know as the music album.

When you open the Biophillia app, you find yourself in a starry environment with a mysterious soundtrack that could be howling wind. You see white glows with labels that represent stars ahead of you. This interface resembles an animated zodiac chart. As you click on a star, the audio changes — sometimes it’s Björk’s voice, but not always — and you are taken to an essay about the inspiration for the song and to the accompanying digital art app for that star.

One thing you will learn about Björk as you explore the app is that she a highly-collaborative artist, not unlike another T-shaped artist, David Byrne whose film, Ride, Rise and Roar was discussed in this space in July, and she allows each artist’s vision to inhabit her world organically and seamlessly with her own.

Each of the songs and accompanying apps (with names like hollow, crystalline and solstice) had different collaborators, which Björk acknowledges in the song essays. Each of them is accomplished enough for their own entries here, but for now I’ll close with a short list of the companies, individuals and website links of the Biophillia collaborators. I’ll continue to write about them in coming weeks. Enjoy exploring Biophilla!

The Biophillia Collaborator List

Scott Sona Snibbe

Scott Snibbe Studio app

John Simon, Jr.

Touch Press

Max Weisel, creator of SoundDrop

Drew Berry, bio-medical animator