A Journey In Björk’s Virtual Reality


Virtual reality (VR) has been a concept one could only dream of since the early 20th-century.

But today, the marriage of the virtual world and what we know as reality is no longer just a dream. The concept of VR first appeared in the early 1930s, while the VR we are currently familiar with dates back to the early 1980s. For much of our recent history, VR was only portrayed in popular sci-fi flicks such as the Holodeck in Star Trek.

Björk, an avant-garde leader in musical and visual art has always been at the forefront of  cutting-edge, technological innovation. This time, the Army of Me singer/songwriter has become a pioneer of one of the biggest emerging technologies: virtual reality.

Held in several major cities across the world, Björk Digital invites us into various Björk music videos such as Stonemilker, Black Lake and Mouth Mantra. All the while, the VR headset-wearing audience bob their heads left and right, up and down, to the rhythm of the music. Björk takes us on a visual escapade like no other. Whether it’s on a sandy, Icelandic beach or inside her warped mouth, each experience is unique and intimate.

Audience members had the chance to rotate 360° on a stool taking in out-of-this-world visuals of Björk dancing and twirling around. At times, she was front and center, performing only for us. At other moments, we were hidden observers watching as a magical creature trekked through an Icelandic cave in the Black Lake music video.

While the first few experiences were solely based on an observational standpoint using Samsung Gear technology, the last piece focused on immersion. Using two controllers, your own hands harnessed your virtual reality. This journey was experienced via the HTC Vive. With the piece, we had the chance to manipulate strings of energy coming out of a holo-Björk. Weird? Yes. Amazing? Hell yes!

It’s more than evident that VR has a way to go before reaching the standard of resolution we expect. Even in collaboration with Björk’s groundbreaking work, it’s clear that this sort of technology has its barriers—for now.
Despite clumsiness and clunkiness of the VR headset, the experience gives you a glimpse into the possibility of VR. There is so much to look forward to, and there is no doubt that VR will eventually open up a new, limitless reality.

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