The video for “Stonemilker,” the monumental opening track from Björk’s harrowing breakup opus Vulnicura, is a 360-degree virtual reality video by Andrew Thomas Huang. It debuted at museum exhibits in London and NYC earlier this year, and now it’s online for the whole world to see. Because Björk is such a captivating performer, the effect of seeing her emote in front of gorgeous landscapes is well worth a look from many angles. Use the cursor in the upper left-hand corner to navigate the footage below.
Björk shared a statement upon the video’s release:
this came about as a spontaneous fruit of mine and andrew huang’s collaboration . we had already done black lake , the “family” moving album cover and the black lake “book cover” trailer and then found us in iceland one day with nothing to do and a 360 camera lying about . we discussed its potential for intimacy and andrew then suggested we take it to the beach where the song was written . it immediately rang true for me as that location has a beautiful 360 panoramic view which matches the cyclical fugue like movement in the song . if the song has a shape it is sort of like a circle that just goes onforever .
i had recorded the strings with a clip on mike on each instrument . we have made a different mix where we have fanned this in an intimate circle around the listener .
so as you watch this in the virtual reality headset it will be as if you are on that beach and with the 30 players sitting in a circle tightly around you
And so did Huang:
We only had time to plan the shoot the night before, and only 2 hours of filming due to the tide, and captured the performance in just a few takes.
Because of the all-seeing nature of this camera, my whole crew and I ducked behind boulders, leaving Bjork alone with the camera, not knowing what we would be ultimately capturing. All I remember is staring at the pearlescent purple seashells beneath my feet throughout the takes listening to her strings reverberating against the wet tidepool rocks, popping my head up occasionally to steal glances of Bjork in her duet with the camera.
The spontaneity of the experience contrasted the months of planning and designing “Black Lake,” shot in Iceland only a few months before in August. My experience with Bjork that summer involved her wearing a fitted sculptural black dress, pounding her chest in frigid temperatures, reliving her separation on camera while kneeling in a jagged ravine carved away by glaciers.
The woman we found in November was much different: her home was adorned with lilac candles, the air was moist and thick with neon yellow garments hanging and the tables covered in creamy lilac latex. There was a feeling of soft, translucent skinlike textures everywhere, evoking a sense of healing, molting and nakedness. This was the new Bjork we captured in “Stonemilker.”
Vulnicura is out now on One Little Indian.