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Where do music, nature and technology meet? In her most ambitious and interdisciplinary project to date, Björk introduces "Biophilia" - an extraordinary multi-media answer to this fascinating question. Encompassing music, apps, internet, live shows and installations, ‘Biophilia’ is ground-breaking in its scale and explores territory previously uncharted in popular music.
For the first time in her career, Björk has created a direct link between the introspective subject matter examined on previous albums with the greater external natural world. The Biophilia project sees her exploring the endlessly rich territory usually populated by scientists - the infinite expanse of the universe, the cyclical nature of life on our planet, from the macro-level of planetary systems to the micro-level of atomic structures. By taking patternsin nature, whether the intricate structures of DNA, the mathematics of crystals growing or the phases of the moon, and connecting them with musical structures, Biophilia celebrates how sound works in nature.
The collaborators Björk has chosen to work with on Biophilia goes beyond her usual eclectic mix of extraordinary musicians and includes: App developers, computer artists and programmers, inventors, writers, explorers, the National Geographic, the BBC Natural History unit, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The project has been global in its inception with work undertaken in Puerto Rico, USA and Iceland. Björk has also embraced the unique interactive and educational opportunities offered by iPad and iPhone technology: each track from the Biophilia album comes with its own related app, starting with ‘Crystalline’ in May 2011 (?). The full album of music and apps will be released in September 2011 (?) across all the traditional formats and will be the first album project of its kind to be simultaneously released as a suite of iPad and iPhone apps.
Each of the individual apps takes a different theme and format, but each contains one new Björk song along with interactive, fun and educational information relating to the particular scientific or natural world topic: an interactive game based on that particular apps’ topic and which also allows the player to manipulate and therefore learn about musical elements – rhythm, meter, melody, or song construction; high resolution photographs relating to the science/nature topic; digital links to scientific information about the topic, including links to partner sites, such as the National Geographic who helped create the science and nature links; and a short video presentation.
Björk has also launched a unique new web site www.bjork.com that incorporates the latest HTML5 and XXXX web technology to offer XXXX. Using these new interactive technologies allows exploration of the musical and scientific ideas behind the tracks. The emphasis is on actively engaging people in exploration and appreciation of music, the natural world andscientific discovery.
The Biophilia live show is part concert, part interactive installation, and will be experienced in specially chosen spaces and museums, not toured around stadiums or traditional music venues. The live show has its global premier at the Manchester International Festival in July when Björk undertakes a three week artist-in-residence run. For six extraordinary performances, her only appearances in the UK this year, Björk has curated a unique show and exhibition. Performing in the round, with a special site specific 360 degree surround sound and vision system, the show takes place in the striking space of Upper Campfield Market for audiences of 1500 a night. Björk will have a small group of unique musical collaborators, including an exceptional hang drum percussionist, a 24 piece Icelandic award winning female choir, and a range of specially conceived and crafted instruments. These devices make visible some of the physical processes which are the subject matter of tracks instruments include a huge musical tesla coil that manipulates lightning strikes to control musical sequences; a 30 foot pendulum that uses the earth’s rotation and gravitational pull to influence the swing motion of 24 pendulums to generate and control musical sequences; a bespoke pipe organ converted to midi – creating a unique bridge between the ancient and the modern; a bespoke celeste; and a one off extraordinary pin barrel harp. These special instruments form part of an exhibition open to audiences during the day in which visitors can get hands on experience with them and interact with iPad music programmers. Beyond the expected goals of any artist to stimulate and entertain, Björk would like this project to also educate and inform - to reconnect music with forms in nature via cutting edge technology. Musicology no longer needs to be an abstract formalised discipline, but can now be something physical, instinctive and easy to grasp. Biophilia allows audiences to actively discover this for themselves - to appreciate and explore the wonders of musical pleasure and of the natural world, together at the same time.