Visiting Bjork Digital in Los Angeles

June 01, 2017
- Extracurriculars
Author - Amy Jacobowitz

A new virtual reality experience has sprung up on the basement floor of The Reef in Los Angeles, presented by Bjork and the LA Philharmonic.

It’s hard to define exactly what Bjork Digital is. On the one hand it’s a gallery exhibit, while on the other it’s a virtual reality event, on a third you might consider it to be a sonic dreamscape, and then on yet another hand it is an experimental/surrealist video emporium. Perhaps the fact that it’s this difficult to pinpoint Bjork Digital’s true definition speaks to what makes it so enjoyable: it’s quite simply a fantastic sensory overload.

Guests can enjoy various rooms that encapsulate the strange wonderland that is Bjork’s mind. First, you are welcomed to an area with tablets and a sets of headphones, where you can explore Biophilia, an interactive application that coincides with the artist’s eighth studio album. Biophilia is a hybrid game, exploration of sound, and educational tool. From there, you travel over to an entirely black room, lined with 50 speakers and two video screens on opposing walls to view Black Lake, defined as “a visceral experience…in this custom built immersive space featuring a bespoke cutting edge surround sound setup,” wherein stunning videos from LA filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang play on both screens. Docents greet you into the space, and encourage you to walk around because, with that unreal surround sound setup, the visual and sonic experience changes at every step.

The beauty of the exhibit is that you cannot capture it to share with someone else; cell phones are not allowed and what could you even take a photo of? You have to be totally present in every sense of the word to participate and enjoy.

After about ten minutes, you move on to the more traditional VR arrangements, goggles secured and headphones on, where it all becomes just a bit more exciting. Special shout out to Funkhaus clients Here Be Dragons for their work alongside director Andrew Thomas Huang here, capturing Bjork in a stunning 360 film on location in Iceland. Then, it’s four more VR experiences back to back (Quicksand, Mouth Mantra, Family, and NotGet) which offer progressively richer and richer dimensions, colors, and narratives. The beauty of the exhibit is that you cannot capture it to share with someone else; cell phones are not allowed and what could you even take a photo of? You have to be totally present in every sense of the word to participate and enjoy.

After the last VR piece, my favorite of the lot, that has the viewer ready to dance alongside Bjork, guests are ushered into one final space: the Cinema. Here, stools and pillows are at the ready for a two hour compilation of Bjork’s music videos. Stay for however long you like, it just depends on how long you want to make Bjork’s indelible creative spirit your own.

Bjork Digital is on display through June 4th at The Magic Box at The Reef. Find out more information here.