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February 7, 2003 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Björk's music videos (some NSFW) are among the best. Her directors are the cream of the industry, and draw affecting ideas from her music. Here's the latest one, and here's my favorite.
posted by Pretty_Generic (47 comments total)

 
Music videos in general are weak image-generation machines that add nothing of value to the music. Most of them are Rolling Stone covers come to life in sickeningly soft-focus, artist really "feeling the music" and dancing around or posing ridiculously kind of way.

Björk's videos seem to get away from all of that, which is why MTV also seems to shy away from them. I agree about "All is Full of Love." It may be the greatest video ever made, but I don't recall MTV ever showing it.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:46 PM on February 7, 2003


Music videos in general are weak image-generation machines that add nothing of value to the music.

How quickly you forget the visual odyssey of The Tubes' She's A Beauty, where a simple ride through a tunnel of hot chicks turned an innocent boy into an old and withered husk. Now that was art.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:51 PM on February 7, 2003


I agree. The AIFOL video is the most beautiful thing I've seen. It moved me to tears the first time I saw it.

Her other videos, while not as personally engaging, are still by-and-large masterpieces. Excellent post!
posted by sigma7 at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2003


"All is Full of Love"--STINKIN' COOL! how'd they DO that? And was she making out with herself at the end? Or was that someone else? The whole sequence was freaky weird/nifty/cool.
posted by psychotic_venom at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2003


Lesbian Bjork-faced robots. On the first viewing, arousal quickly gave way to fear.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 2:06 PM on February 7, 2003


Heh--I like the giant teddy bear from Human Behaviour...
posted by Shane at 2:06 PM on February 7, 2003


Director File - Chris Cunningham, his creative process behind AIFOL and other interesting tidbits of info.
posted by loukas_c at 2:07 PM on February 7, 2003


oh and be sure not to miss the links to his other videos at the bottom of the page
posted by loukas_c at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2003


so inattentive, i missed the director file link in the post. apologies.
posted by loukas_c at 2:12 PM on February 7, 2003


I actually had been planning to post about chris cunninghams videos recently... Been putting it on the back burner... DRATS.

Well, all of his videos are amazing, even the bjork ones if you mute them ;).

The Squarepusher video for Come On My Selector has always been one of my favorites.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:16 PM on February 7, 2003


I agree about "All is Full of Love." It may be the greatest video ever made, but I don't recall MTV ever showing it.

C'mon, like Bjork is too outside the mainstream for MTV. I've seen pretty much every Bjork video on MTV, including AIFOL.

The "making-out with yourself" imagery, pretty much sums up the rock-star egotism that Bjork is right in the center of, too. I can't think of many pop bands who make music videos with the pure intent of generating a visual representation of their music. The video process, for the most part, is just about marketing yourself, a la Dennis Rodman, as a commodity. Bjork is little different than Britney Spears. Her videos are all about her looking sexy, naked, and flashing off expensive designer clothing. (her music is better though)

Do I appreciate the artistic investment that goes into Bjorks videos? Sure but I think a lot of great creative minds collaborate to sell the BackStreet Boys too.

It should also be noted that Picasso and Dali were pretty shameless commidifiers of themselves and their work too
posted by dgaicun at 2:18 PM on February 7, 2003


dgaicun is equally moved by Guernica and Hit Me Baby (One More Time).

For many of the videos with the "large" file not linked, you can change "medium" to "large" in the url. For instance, http://www.bjork.com/videogallery/watch.php?video=8;size=large
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:23 PM on February 7, 2003


off the top of my head some of my recent favorite music videos have to include

The Faint - Agenda Suicide (direct link quicktime) by MK12 (for motion design fans i highly recommend checking out their internal work projects: ultra love ninja and 4d sweater porn)

and the royksopp video for remind me: High Quality Windows Media | Low Quality Windows Media. Sorta Sims meets catalogue layouts.
posted by loukas_c at 2:30 PM on February 7, 2003


flashing off expensive designer clothing

In what video is this?
posted by brittney at 2:31 PM on February 7, 2003


I'm not even equally moved by Genie in a Bottle and Hit me Baby (One More Time).
posted by dgaicun at 2:32 PM on February 7, 2003


I was going to ask what video involved robots with Bjork's face, but apparently that's All is Full of Love. I know some of her work, she's got a beautiful voice and image. Everything about her... is interesting and compelling. She's not beautiful only because of her looks - but what she personifies. at least from my POV.

that video was amazing.. simply fscking amazing. i liked the video for awfully quiet.. that was a departure from the norm.

it's nice seeing originality still exists in popular music. it's not nice to notice that i've seen only a few of them get prime time rotation out of MTV.

and that's why i call it empty-vee. fashion over function.
posted by shadow45 at 2:34 PM on February 7, 2003


I don't think he was accusing you, brittney...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:34 PM on February 7, 2003


Chris Cunningham also did Aphex's Come to Daddy video. Anyone else seen this deeply disturbing video? i'm not one for hardcore thrashy pissed-off music, but damn, i like that track.
posted by shadow45 at 2:36 PM on February 7, 2003


What a fucking waste of time!
posted by LowDog at 2:50 PM on February 7, 2003


Speaking of Bjork, did you ever see the videos the Bjork obsessed guy made where he put a bomb in a parcel, sent addressed it to Bjork, and taped himself unravelling the whole time? He, shortly after sending off the package, kills himself ON CAMERA--talk about an obsessed fan. It was all because of his "love" for her..
posted by psychotic_venom at 2:51 PM on February 7, 2003


Shadow: small children are spooky
posted by signal at 2:54 PM on February 7, 2003


LowDog was expecting music videos that provided greater mental stimulation.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:54 PM on February 7, 2003


Holy...!! I'd pay good money to make out with a robot me... wait.
posted by BobFrapples at 3:02 PM on February 7, 2003


I may have spoken too soon. I have seen the light. Not only is Counting Crow's new version of "Big Yellow Taxi" an improvement on the Joni Mitchell yawner, but Vanessa Carlton's contribution really makes the song special. And the video? It's really got that superstar sheen!
posted by eyeballkid at 3:06 PM on February 7, 2003


Dirrty is the most moving video ever made.
posted by owillis at 3:08 PM on February 7, 2003


Seriously though, why would anyone be obsessed with Björk?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:24 PM on February 7, 2003


You know I actually like the Counting Crows - because I have really shitty taste in music. But I was AMAZED at how horrible their version of Big Yellow Taxi was.

Interestingly, I sort of enjoyed the Dixie Chicks version of Landslide. Not that I think they did a very good job with it, I don't. It's just that the song was able to transcend the shitty performance and remain moving.

Big Yellow Taxi though? Wow -- AMAZED

As for Bjork - I so desperately want to like her, but most of the time I just don't (did I mention that I have really shitty taste in music? 'Cause I do - have shitty taste I mean).
posted by willnot at 3:27 PM on February 7, 2003


Bjork is little different than Britney Spears

Except that her songs are actually interesting, she has talent and creativity, I can listen to her without vomiting, and she has not sold her soul to Pepsi.

Nope, no different at all. :P
posted by Foosnark at 4:14 PM on February 7, 2003


I have been waiting for the Chris Cunningham Necromancer film for years.

Also have fond memories of the AIFOL video. Played that on RealPlayer, full screen, in some weird video mode. It ended up being extremely pixilated. It was like a 1980's "high tech" video from the future. Have tried to make RealPlayer do this again, but it seems to have just been luck. It was a hallucinogenic voyage.

BobFrapples: Holy...!! I'd pay good money to make out with a robot me... wait.

Have had that same awkward conversation with myself. Only if I was Bjork. Then, I would make out with a robot version of myself.
posted by son_of_minya at 5:00 PM on February 7, 2003


The frickin Venus de Milo is NSFW for you? Yikes!
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:23 PM on February 7, 2003


Wow, thanks! I saw Cunningham's video for Autechre's "Second Bad Vibel" quite a few years ago on some late-night MTV show called "amp", and was blown away. I looked for it on the net at the time, but turned up nothing.
posted by duckstab at 5:44 PM on February 7, 2003


I love Bjork's music and videos (the video for Joga is one of my favourites, and the one for Big Time Sensuality is like some Bjorked-up version of Like a Virgin with a dash of Ferris Bueller). Even though not everything she tries works very well, she at least tries to do things musically and in her videos which are actually unique. Thanks for the links Pretty_Generic!
posted by biscotti at 6:10 PM on February 7, 2003


Volumen DVD. . .
posted by Shane at 8:20 PM on February 7, 2003


The AIFOL video... not just a cool short film, it's a career goal!
posted by tss at 9:32 PM on February 7, 2003


Seriously, if I may be allowed to go on a tangent... You may recall a discussion a while back about the uncanny valley, or how people seem to have an extremely strong aversion to things that look very similar to people but not quite similar enough. This is something that we worry about in robotics as well (c.f. page 2), since we don't want people to be creeped out by our robots.

Many people here seem to agree with me that the AIFOL video is beautiful--sure, the (fake) robots are unusual, but probably not especially distressing to most people. Nevertheless, they're being assembled during the course of the film; they have actuators sticking out the backs of their heads. What makes them "acceptable"? Fluid movements? Excellent facial expressions?

Just one of the things that amazed me about that video.
posted by tss at 9:59 PM on February 7, 2003


tss - excellent point. I think it was the face being entirely present and genuine, the video of Ms Guðmundsdóttir transferred straight into the computer graphics with a little touching up. We are all experts at identifying every aspect of a human face based on shape, not colour, and if it's all there and non-simulated, we generally don't need anything else present to avoid the uncanny valley.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:31 PM on February 7, 2003


You know, I have to admit my complete and utter ignorance concerning Bjork. I saw a video of her attacking a reporter once, and dismissed her as crazy. Thanks so much for the link, AIFOL is fucking amazing. Thanks again.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:52 PM on February 7, 2003


Beautiful. Cool. Mmmm...Icelandic.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:01 AM on February 8, 2003


lazaruslong: she's pretty crazy all right, but that doesn't take away from her talent. Read up on her antics on the set of Dancer in the Dark (scroll down). "During the shooting, she ran away from the set for days at a time, leaving cast and crew hanging. Flanked by lawyers, she threatened to pull out of the production in the middle.
Had Björk gone bonkers? There were piles of stories circulating about her erratic behavior on the shoot. One weird, unverified rumor was that someone walked in on her one day as she was trying to eat her costume.
" I've read interviews with Catherine Deneuve (co-star) where she basically stated (extremely politely, of course) that working with Björk was unbearable, because she was self-centred to the point of ridiculousness.
posted by biscotti at 10:11 AM on February 8, 2003


Link to MPG of All Is Full Of Love (26 MB)
posted by PrinceValium at 10:30 AM on February 8, 2003


Dancer in the Dark was a terrible movie. One of the worst I've seen.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:09 AM on February 8, 2003


One weird, unverified rumor was that someone walked in on her one day as she was trying to eat her costume

Best laugh I have had in hours. The prior winner was this jewel:

So these two cannibals are eating a clown, right? And one says to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?"

whee!
posted by lazaruslong at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2003


Duckstab: The Second Bad Vilbel video is available on the Ganz Graf DVD single.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:33 PM on February 8, 2003


I know that Eiko Ishioka (Academy Award winner for costumes for Bram Stoker's Dracula) was the director for one of Bjork's videos. Does anyone know which one?
posted by gen at 3:59 PM on February 8, 2003


gen - this one. It's great - manages to be both uplifting and alarming.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:49 PM on February 8, 2003


I subjected myself to All is Full of Love.

Ugh.

imo. ymmv.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on February 8, 2003


Lynn Fox, directed Bjork's "Nature is ancient". But more striking and beautiful (as well as a better song) is Lynn Fox's video for Hayling by FC Kahuna.
posted by quibx at 7:45 PM on February 8, 2003


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