Bjorked in the Head

A couple of weeks ago when I first started my Iceland research ( which, in case you’re just tuning in, just might be my ancestral homeland!) , I had also found an unrelated DVD on Ebay that I wanted (Futurama Season One), and the seller was also offering Volumen, a DVD of Bjork’s music videos, so I ordered it at the same time so it could piggyback on the shipping charges. I thought it would be interesting to see more of the work of my possible countrywoman.

The DVD came in this week and I’ve been watching it … and I must say, it’s been quite a head-messing experience. It also inspired me to pick up a couple of her albums really cheap.

But before I go into commentary on the videos, let’s find out a little more about this fascinating artist:

She was born Björk Guðmundsdóttir in Reykjavík on November 21, 1965 — meaning that she’ll be the big four-oh in a few months! She was one of seven children.

This afternoon she headlined the Japanese version of the Live 8 Concerts.

Here’s the 1997 Raygun interview, which includes her comments on her suicidal stalker.

Some loved it, some hated it, but her 2000 starring vehicle Dancer in the Dark was definitely different.

Here are the lyrics to all her songs, a timeline of her career, her official site, and lots and lots of pictures.

See fan sites here, here, and here.

And of course no discussion of Bjork would be complete with a mention of the Swan Dress from the 2001 Oscars. There have even been a couple of tribute figures made of her wearing it, here and here.

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Now, about those music videos: These have got to be some of the best videos ever. Most of them are strange, and some are downright extra-weird, but their all very interesting, and they’re all reality bending. Take for instance “An Army of Me” (whose song was used in the Tank Girl movie, locgially enough): it starts out with her driving this really, really huge tank/truck, with these huge moths on the front grill. She pulls up to a curb, gets out, and opens the hood, the inside of which is lined by these brown, broken teeth. A green vapor emergeds from under the hood, and a man dressed in western-style leather climbs out and jumps to the ground. Suddenly, Bjork realizes she has a toothache, but luckily there’s a dentist’s office right in front of her. She rings the bell and is shown in — and finds that the dentist is this big black gorilla. He tells her to lie back in the chair and open her mouth, and she does, and he sees a large dimaond, almost 2 inches in diameter, on her tongue. He takes the diamond out and starts to walk away with it, but suddenly there are two Bjorks and they are both wrestling him to the ground for the diamond, which keeps getting bigger and bigger. She ties up the gorilla dentist in the chair and escapes with the diamond, which is now about two feet wide. She puts the diamond under the hood of her truck, and instantly the broken brown teeth become white and whole. She then pulls out a time bomb and goes into a museum, where there are apparently more of her running around. She goes up to one art installation which consists of a young Asian man lying on a table. She places the bomb and runs out of the museum. The bomb goes off and the letters S-E-U fall off the sign, leaving M-U_____M. She goes back in the museum and everybody is either knocked out or dead, and all the art is in shambles, but the young man besides whom she placed the bomb is alive and awake and sitting up. She runs up to him and hugs him, at which point the camera pulls in close, the shot freezes on her faces and goes to monochrome, and she begins crying diamonds. The End, and they all lived weirdly ever after.

And that’s not even the strangest video of the bunch.

But seriously, you can check out all of the videos on the Volumen DVD and more at Bjork’s QuickTime Gallery. My personal favorite is Human Behavior; I guess I’ve always been a sucker for papier-mache moons orbiting tiny Earth-like planets with a guy in a bear suit standing on top.

I also enjoyed Bachelorette and Spike Jonze’s It’s Oh So Quiet (filmed several years before he hit it big with Being John Malkovich). There’s also a video by Ren & Stimpy animator John Kricfalusi, but be warned that it is seriously … messed … UP.

Anyway, I’m quickly becoming a crash-course fan; check out some of the above information and maybe you will be too …

2 Responses to “Bjorked in the Head”

  1. kim Says:

    She’s definitely strange. I like the Sugarcubes “Birthday.” I like “Human Behavior,” too. The video you described in detail sounds very much like a dream someone might have had.

  2. brykm2 Says:

    That had occurred to me, too. It flowed from one idea to another like a dream.

    In fact, the whole DVD is very dreamlike. It was very *artiste*-like of her …

    Go check out that link I put in where you can watch the videos for yourself. It’s definitely a trip.

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