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Björk Digital: experience the singer's Vulnicura album in a new VR exhibition at Somerset House

Olivia McEwan
Björk Digital
3.0

Björk’s musical career is distinguished not only by her genre-bending music, but her imaginative visuals; with each album comes stunning, otherworldly imagery, often embracing the latest technology.

It is no surprise then that this exhibition of her work is comprised of a sequence of music videos, primarily presented using Samsung virtual reality headsets, the resulting sensory assault occasionally bordering on the overwhelming.

These virtual reality music videos are thoroughly effective, gradually increasing in intensity so as to acclimatise you to the optical illusion of 360 degree immersion. Perhaps most successful is a collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang on Stonemilker VR, in which Björk sings directly to us from a windswept beach in Iceland; as she moves around us, you are inclined to follow her by swivelling in your seat and it’s a surprisingly intimate serenade.

Elsewhere, a collaboration in which director Jesse Kanda captures Björk’s singing Mouthmantra by filming the inside of her mouth, is so challenging in its dizzying intensity that I struggled to finish watching it. Similarly, the impressive feats of digital imagery achieved in Notget VR, directed by Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, puts you in uncomfortably close proximity with Björk as a digital giantess.

Digital Revolution at the Barbican in 2014 explored a more varied range of ways in which technology may enhance art and music, also featuring Björk. Here, the focus is squarely on her music, specifically her Vulnicura album (the show coincides with live concerts elsewhere in London), and should be considered more as an immersive method to consume it, rather than a traditional exhibition. The experience, which requires you to listen to one full track after the next in sequence, followed by a gift shop filled with colour vinyl copies of her back catalogue, makes this clear. Björk fans will love it.

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