It took me a long time to get used to Björk’s weird imagination, she is a complex and complete artist, she is as musical as she is visual, and she has built her own very personal universe. Her new video for ‘The Gate’ is no exception, this starts like a Sci-Fi vision with Björk playing flute in a Star Wars-like landscape, then it’s all lo-fi electronica, an ambient music with long pauses and Björk‘s emotive vocals, while she is dancing and playing with geometric luminous shapes, throwing them back and forth to her virtual reality avatars …she sends and receives light through her chest, a metaphor she has often used as the gift of love, the wound of love, and of course the idea of acid trip will come back a lot to describe this strange vision. However, I wonder what’s going on at the end of the clip, is she having sex with one of these avatars? I have visited her virtual reality exhibit this summer and this video looks very much like the virtual experience.
This is all hallucinogenic shapes and colors, prisms and pale rainbows, she looks like a cyborg fairy in the matrix, and the entire thing appears so airy and volatile that it could have been entirely computer-generated. That’s why I had a hard time to think there was a real dress involved, but there is one, designed by Alessandro Michele which ‘took approximately 550 hours to make, and an additional 320 hours for the embroidery’. The dress was made of 5 meters of pleated iridescent PVC plastic material, 3 meters of PVC iridescent strips and 20 meters of pleated lurex organza. At a time when everything could be CGI, it’s quite astonishing Björk bothers to make a real dress with so many details and decorations. It’s the futuristic vision with an old school approach.
‘The Gate’ is the first single from her upcoming and highly anticipated album ‘Utopia’, her first work since her 2015 ‘Vulnicura’.