Page 1

1



3

A map



5

A map

Written by Bjork and Timothy Morton Edited by Raz Shraga



7

Back in March 2015, Icelandic visionary Björk opened up her oeuvre in a major mid-career retrospective at the MoMA gallery in New York. The exhibition reflected on two decades of her work, from the early days with her appropriately titled – 1993 album Debut, to the recent premiere of music filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang’s Black Lake. To coincide with the show, Thames & Hudson released a tome detailing Björk’s boundary pushing body of work. Seven distinct booklets came together to create Bjork: Archives, with one publishing the intimate correspondence between philosopher Timothy Morton and the artist herself. The email exchange was a three month collaboration between the pair as they tried to discover what ‘ism’ Björk – as an Icelandic pop singer – is. As we publish these private emails in-part, Björk explains in her own words how important such a connection was to her: “last year I reached out to the philosopher timothy morton to see if he would be interested to start a dialogue with me, to search for a definition of me and my friends’ stance in this world, which I felt his writing came very close to already. of course I'm still searching but this email chat of ours got pretty close and we shared a couple of coordinates trying to define what “ism” a pop musician from iceland would be...“ Text by Ashleigh Kane, Dazed and Confused Magazine


HI Timothy

I wanted to write this letter for a long time. I have been reading your books for a while and I like them a lot. Next year there will be a MoMA exhibition on my work including a book. I was wondering if you'd be interested in taking part in it?

Warmth, Bjork


9

Dear Bjork

It was very kind of you to write to me, and I'm very touched by your kind words. I am always quite surprised anyone reads my stuff! I would be thrilled to be part of the MoMA catalogue. Your work has been a very deep influence on my way of thinking and life in general. I like to be given homework in terms of what to write (perpetual student!), so do tell me more about what specifications you might like. It truly seems to me that there is some kind of shift happening towards ecological awareness - not just in terms of PR for the science. I have heard this in your work since I started to listen to it.

Yours, Tim


Contents

15

41

Animism and basic ecological attitude

Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

Post Humanism (16)

The Tryanny of the Oblivious (42)

Anthropocene (16) Iceland (16)

Children are The Future (42)

Woman (17)

Vulnerability (43)

Hyper Object (17)

Remixed (47)

Animism (17)

Ecological Awareness (47)

Weird Reality (18) Urth (18) Kant (18) Mysteriously Realist (19) Realist magic (19)


11

55

75

Resonance and the unexplained underwater sounds

How to Love: art and theory

Object Oriented Ontology aka OOO (56)

How To Love (76)

Cause and Effect (56) The Element Table (56) Magnetism (56) Resonance (56) Animism (56) Superimposed (57) Cool kids Academics (57) Irish House with Punk Sounds (59) Nihilism (59)

Death (76) Hegel (77) The Beautiful Soul (77) All Is Corrupt (77) Ecological Panic (78) Hope Spaces (79) Unspeakable (79) Prana (79) Jรถrmungandr (80) Isobel (80) Nietszche (81) Narcissism (81) Solipsism (81)


83

93

Ecological Care

A Map

Ecological care (84)

You and Me (94)

Merging (86)

Channels (94)

1+1=3 (86)

Paradox (94)

Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir (86) Nirvana (87) Sufi (87) Devotion (87) Buddhist (88) House scene in 1988 (88) Total Abstraction (16) Vladimir Martynov (89) Overdramatic (90)


13


*Animism - is the worldview that non-human entities - such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects - possess a spiritual essence. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of some indigenous tribal peoples,especially prior to the development of organized religion. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, "animism" is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples' "spiritual" or "supernatural" perspectives. The Animistic perspective is so fundamental, mundane, everyday and taken-for-granted that most animistic indigenous people do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to "animism" (or even religion); the term is an anthropological construct.


15

Animism* and basic ecological attitude

Towel-holder


Animism and basic ecological care

Bjork

Thank so much for writing... I'm thrilled you're interested and sorry, I went offline, was hiking in Iceland and filming a video. So I have been doing a little readin and trying to find folks who could help me define what "ism" I am... I guess I managed to avoid being analyzed for all these years but now since I am a little older and supposedly "wiser" I would like to offer up a collaborative hand and wave hi to theory. well, if I dont do it, the art critics will and that seems destined for misunderstandings. I ended up reading several books on post humanism it is not exactly what I was looking for but closest yet most interesting is that it is the first "ism" where the human is not at the centre of the world, and the stuff about anthropocene is also spicy!! not only to define it for me, but also for all my friends, and a generation actually. I feel in many ways we icclandie people arc a bit different from usa and england. somehow we missed out on the industrial revolution and modernism and postmodernism and are now coming straight from colonialism, getting our independence 1944 and going straight into 21st century!

we have a chance to enjoy our still almost untouched nature and combine it and headbutt our way into green techno internet age. so somehow there is way less apocalyptic feeling over here... we dont have an army, havent been burned by wars or by the guilt that comes with it somehow we are still continuing the romantic age of the 19th century but it is not hack to nature, it is forwards!! I feel this has been a little misunderstood so far as


17

naive and cute (a la grizzly man warner herzog or even worse dolphins and shit!!) and I havent seen much written stuff in the western media where this "ism" is given a mature voice. Then I guess there is also the woman matriarch factor would be incredible to somehow address that in a fertile non patriarch rocknroll way? without dissing a single male!!!

Barbecue (terracotta flowerpot with grille)

Tim

Oh gosh, it's my pleasure, and thank you in turn for replying with such richness. I think I've had your music and words in me for decades - I mean this word I use, "hyperobject" for instance, it sounds like one of your words. You have so many nonhuman beings in your work, both obviously alive and not so obviously. I tend to see things in an animistic way. I try to argue that everything is alive (or undead almost as good!). Your sentence made me smile. "Help me define what ism I am" is kind of its own ism in a way, and a very lyrical phrase (I don't really know how to write poems but I can read them). I have no idea what ism you are really of course (he said sincerely and truthfully), and my own ism doesn't seem to have made itself very obvious!


Animism and basic ecological care

T

That is part of the whole ism dynamic, of course, which we humans have been in for about two hundred years...

I argue that art comes from the future (and I can prove it?!) so I think art of whatever kind is always ahead of thinking. It's my job to sort of channel it into the present in words. As your art is obviously very clearly open to the future (and from the future) I thought I'd like to tell you, with helping you on the 2015 projects in mind. I think art is a way to talk about the way things are in general: an umbrella, Sagittarius A, coral, breadcrumbs, photons. I believe art is a way to attune to what reality is, which is a weird reality. By "weird" I mean the Icelandic and Old Norse roots of that word, "urth". What things are is inextricably looped, twisted or entwined with how they appear, yet different - so things are weird and also fragile, even black holes. I will now not take up five hours of your time proving it! All my stuff right now is explicitly about this word urth, which for me is a strange coincidence since you wrote me. I could find a million examples in your work. The description of the snow in "Aurora" leaves the snow to be exactly what it is, yet at the same time there is this tantalizing sensual appearance, yet one can't quite grasp it, which is why it s beautiful ('The way it melts..?'). Kant says something very similar about raindrops in his funny old clunky way. An artist attunes to what things are, which means sort of listening to the future, which is just how things are - I think time is a sort of liquid that pours out of hatpins, underground trains, salt crystals. So a work of art is also listening to itself, because what it is never quite coincides with how it appears, too.


19

"You have to play a long time to sound like yourself" (Miles Davis). This is where I think maybe your work is mysteriously realist. Each work is very unique, quite startlingly so when you compare it to how others proceed. So in a way the works are also these nonhumans I keep banging on about and this is why it doesn't quite fit into an "ism" because so far isms have been historically about ignoring reality, in other words nonhuman beings. You did say you'd read my books. Me being a bit daft I suddenly connected with the fact you read "Realist Magic", and am even more touched. I care about all my stuff but that is the one I wrote from my core. I'm so delighted you arc into it. The sentences in that book are really just a fuzzy photocopy of what you do. So glad to hear someone has been hiking and not online.

Door handle (tower rail)


Leather chair lacking the seat wedged into a backless wooden stool

Animism and basic ecological care


Street vendor selling statues

21


System to stop the grass from growing in yards of holiday homes, uninhabited during winter time (plastic top-up shutters)

Animism and basic ecological care


Fish trap (agricutural netting)

23


Parking space maker (gas cylinder)

Animism and basic ecological care


Chairs (bus seats)

25


Eye protector for chopping onions (diving mask)

Animism and basic ecological care


Box for collecting sea urchins

27


Street vendor selling vases

Animism and basic ecological care


Lampshade (compact disk)

29


System to prevent chairs breaking (adhesive tape)

Animism and basic ecological care


Street vendor selling puppets

31


Street vendor selling statues

Animism and basic ecological care


Shoe cleaner (floor brushes)

33


Carpet protector system (tennis balls)

Animism and basic ecological care


Street vendor selling plants

35


Street vendor selling puppets

Animism and basic ecological care


TV remote control with cellophone cover

37


Anti-urine system for dogs (bottles of water)

Animism and basic ecological care


Anchor (stone)

39


* Humans have traditionally been very good at recognizing emotions on people’s faces, but computers? Not so much. That is, until now. Recent advances in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence are allowing computer scientists to create smarter apps that can identify things like sounds, words, images – and even facial expressions. The Microsoft Project Oxford team announced the release of public versions of new tools that help developers take advantage of those capabilities, including one that can recognize emotion. Chris Bishop, head of Microsoft Research Cambridge in the United Kingdom, showed off the emotion tool in a keynote talk at Future Decoded, a Microsoft conference on the future of business and technology.


41

Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition*


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

B

Magic : am filming : will reply properly soon, but in the meantime I thought I'd send you this. around to to 15 years ago I read an interview with an architect where he talked about the difference between people who invent things and people who collect things. he said he was a collector of ideas, he travelled often to india and other places for this and that he felt really threatened by people who just wake up and they have thought of something original. he called it "the tyranny of the oblivious". I found this incredibly interesting at the time I had just moved to new york and was breastfeeding a newborn baby at home, writing music. 9/11 had just happened and I was following the news of the Michael Jackson trial: a public execution happening. it seemed extraordinary that something so sweet and generous could be such a threat.

T

Hope the filming goes excellently! "Magic" is a very positive word for me. Being a newborn baby's dad was one of the most psychedelic things that ever happened to me. The corny phrase is "children are the future" but it's quite true in another way. This huge sunlit abyss from the future right there next to you... That Michael Jackson trial, it was like that, wasn't it? I found out about Michael Jackson's death in the middle of a class I was teaching and the first words out of my mouth were, "Of course we are all responsible for this" (by putting him up on a pedestal to be the perfect pop puppet, etc.). One of the most conservative students even snorted derisively but I guess he was just reacting to his own heavily shielded vulnerability...


43

T

Creation comes out of vulnerability, doesn't it? Some kind of attunement to something that isn't you. Susceptibility. You seem to allow your voice to be vulnerable, which is very powerful in fact: threatening vulnerability. Sometimes it seems to be in between crying and laughing. Or roaring, growling, ululating. Allowing it to be itself, which is a physical, visceral entity. In this your voice seems to be staying in a place of creativity, which for me means being close to things. This is a reason why I really like your song "Virus." Being alive means being susceptible to viruses and so on. And far more generally, viruses, patterns, appearance, flowers, art - these are all far from useless, they are intrinsic parts of being a thing at all. Causality itself is something to do with magical seduction. (Five-hour argument compression!). How that amounts to "tyranny" just beats me. To me, reality is literally an anarchy. Artists just aren't tyrants. They can't be. In a way art is the opposite of collecting, because it must be more like listening to something one can't quite hear - it's an old idea of channeling, sort of nonviolently allowing things to beam themselves down. For instance, the work on Biophilia - it's just brilliantly about how life can't be contained to prefabricated concepts of life, that it contains things like crystallization and viruses and moons. And also, of course, this is a basic thing I find everywhere in your work: you become the thunder and lightning (for instance), and yet you don't, just as the voice entwines around the instrument; or how an instrument can be an agent all by itself not just telling a (human) story. There is this playful both and that I think is a basic quality of what a thing is at all.


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

President George W. Bush, right, is interupted by Chief of Staff Andrew Card on Sept. 11, 2001. The president was reading a book to schoolchildren in Florida, covered by a dozen news cameras. Card approached, whispered in his ear for a few seconds, and departed. Bush calmly continued chatting with the children, showing no sign that anything was amiss. Several minutes later, he excused himself and left.


45

JSON: BUSH [ { "faceRectangle": { "left": 498, "top": 505, "width": 384, "height": 384 }, "scores": { "anger": 0.00512, "contempt": 0.01221, "disgust": 0.00105, "fear": 0.00451, "happiness": 0.00074, "neutral": 0.93065, "sadness": 0.02317, "surprise": 0.02251 } } ]


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

What is original does not come from absolute blank nothing - oblivion, but from an electromagnetic tenderness,

from remembering, not forgetting.


47

T

You allow the songs on the Biophilia app to be remade, which is very courageous, but also realistic, because I think entities never exhaust their possibilities by being used or interpreted by anything. You also seem very open about having songs remixed, and I wonder whether it's for the same reason. The song as entity is a physical being in its own right and creating it means letting it be, which is absolutely the opposite of collecting, where there is a frame into which things fit already. It is itself precisely because it can be changed, remixed, re-heard. It is mysterious. Earth needs this tenderness - I think there is sonic kind of fusion between tenderness and sadness, joy, yearning, longing, horror (tricky one), laughter, melancholy and weirdness. This fusion is the feeling of ecological awareness.


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

Undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.


49

JSON: BIN LADEN [ { "faceRectangle": { "left": 254, "top": 302, "width": 329, "height": 329 }, "scores": { "anger": 0.00167, "contempt": 0.01099, "disgust": 0.00074, "fear": 0.00020, "happiness": 0.03628, "neutral": 0.94147, "sadness": 0.00856, "surprise": 0.00005 } } ]


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication at his home on North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. His personal physician, Conrad Murray, said he had found Jackson in his room, not breathing and with a barely detectable pulse, and that he administered CPR on Jackson to no avail.


51

JSON: JACKSON [ { "faceRectangle": { "left": 254, "top": 302, "width": 329, "height": 329 }, "scores": { "anger": 0.00167, "contempt": 0.01099, "disgust": 0.00074, "fear": 0.00020, "happiness": 0.03628, "neutral": 0.94147, "sadness": 0.00856, "surprise": 0.00005 } } ]


Vulnerability and experimental emotion recognition

The trial of Conrad Murray was the American criminal trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician, Conrad Murray. Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter for causing Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, from a massive overdose of the general anesthetic propofol. The trial, which started on September 27, 2011, was held in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Los Angeles, California, before Judge Michael Pastor.


53

JSON: MURRAY [ { "faceRectangle": { "left": 647, "top": 464, "width": 532, "height": 532 }, "scores": { "anger": 0.00770, "contempt": 0.00299, "disgust": 0.00052, "fear": 0.00872, "happiness": 0.00001, "neutral": 0.37445, "sadness": 0.60461, "surprise": 0.00096 } } ]


* The ocean is full of enexplained sounds. The following part contains a booklet with unidentified, or formerly unidentified, spectrogram sounds. All of the sounds have been sped up by at least a factor of 16 to increase intelligibility by condensing them and raising the frequency from infrasound to a more audible and reproducible range to be able to hear them.


55

Resonance and the unexplained underwater sounds*


Resonance and the unexplained underwater sounds

B

You might find it funny but I was trying to explain OOO to a friend last night in an email after a few whiskeys, ha ha. thought id share it with you: "I have been reading some OOO stuff, the guy I once sent you a link about, timothy morton I guess he is SWERVING the apocalyptic angle into hope, or at least there is an attempt. his thing is that the apocalypse has already happened and we have to get out of our paralysed state and react. he has a lot of humour too, which is incredible. I guess I relate most to the more sonic angle of OOO, about string theory and how in the core of the atom all vibrates and resonates and the 20th century was the century of cause and effect and the element table but now it is more about the magnetic force of the sun, how we are discovering that now : both on a subatomic level and also on a large scale : how the magnetism of our solar system is way more effective than the pathways of our stars. Sorry, crazy farfetched, but if you think of it as a sound it is super exciting how we are finally opening up to resonance... hmm... perhaps too ambitious to explain in a short email. (I blame the whiskey)". Ha ha ha and to take it even further : my favorite favorite favorite thing is how it connects to animism, that in each object there is soul. and therefore asks for different reaction to ecology ?

each laptop, each bird, each building. T

You got me! I can't tell you how nice it is to be got. gotten? gotted? I am indeed trying to find ways to hope and not be totally caught in the headlights of all this stuff. also - that's an "OOO" sort of list there: laptop, bird, building. I love to make such lists. spoon, quasar, frost on an iron railing.


57

The humour - thanks!! I find so much humour in your work too, there's a whole mixture of different kinds, sometimes superimposed. The resonance: yes x1o. I can't help writing about sound. and the kind of connection of everything. I think things are telepathic, really. frogs, balls of string, auroras and flight attendants. causality is telepathy. your art is like trying to hook up all these telepathic wires between everything. My friend and I were just talking about poetry and how almost-now eco society is actually about rediscovering enchantment yet with full on science, not fighting it, but revealing it. fearless exploration of phenomena. There is this part of me that just wants to talk about elves and sprites yet I disguise it because others might think it was believing in something solid. or probably just laugh at me if they are cool kid academics... You can feel these entities coming out the rocks up here in the north of england, the pools and fountains. whether you like it or not, or believe or not. irish woman I heard once: "sure I don't believe in them, but they're there all the same." bang on... somehow the further north you go the more vivid it becomes. I expect it's super vivid in Iceland? Bohemians, punks, everyone who ever allows and responds to some kind of dream that sprays out of things even if it's totally mundane like a hammer or a bottle of coke - all are in fact shamans who don't quite know it. I think this is the story of art in the last two hundred years that art scholarship is blocking, mostly out of fear. Our mission maybe is to allow people to feel this and think this with full crystal clarity, not departing from reason for one second, yet allowing the inner space to sparkle madly. nor succumbing to someone else's old bad belief juju but allowing things to be magic, rather than totally inert? that's my mission anyway hahaha.


h t r a e

Resonance and the unexplained underwater sounds

n e e d s m

m a g

o

r

i c i

a n s

Scientists, stop trying to persuade wrong people that you are right! just blow them away with some magic.

e


59

T

You and I should do the news conferences together about global warming. people would soon submit hahahaha.

B

What an inspired post to receive!!! gracefulll all over... Im in the mountains in iceland now herding sheep: one has to run and pull horns and receive polka dot bruises on ones thighs : smashing!!!! it was magic today. It was so sunny and crisp and no wind at all, kinda miraculous but in slomo, without the boom. smell of wool and farm and the volcanic mist from the eruption had finally arrived here in the west so all was in soft focus but not lazy hazy style, but metallic with idefinition! during dinner I shuffled my latest sound discoveries : irish house with punk sounds (the fresh young are doing this apparently). btw, talking of this fresh young generation, I adore them and I agree : "rediscovering enchantment through science" and "allowing the inner space to sparkle madly". something so so so MAGIC is finally happening!! I saw an article saying that majority of hollywood movies last year were about the apocalypse and I was like sort your hope out, usa! I'm so bored with that only possible ending. sooo limited. I love how you write in your book about that : "nihilism wants to empty its pockets of everything including the space in the pockets - as if one could pull the nothingness out of the pocket itself to rid oneself of the inconsistency of the thing. "believing in" nothing is a defense against nothingness, a metaphysics of presence disguised as a sophisticated undermining of all presence." Obvious bankruptcy ? helllo ? ha ha ha ha. we might have to discuss the north later : so much to say. but overall I feel its underrated how much space is here : plant / people /sound / animals. stark is the word.


Resonance and the unexplained underwater sounds

the unexplained underwater sounds A spectrogram is a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in a sound or other signal as they vary with time or some other variable. Spectrograms are sometimes called spectral waterfalls, voiceprints, or voicegrams. Spectrograms can be used to identify spoken words phonetically, and to analyse the various calls of animals. They are used extensively in the development of the fields of music, sonar, radar, and speech processing, seismology, etc.


train61



upsweep63



65 whistle



67 bloop



69 julia



slow down71



73



75

How to love: art and theory


How to love: art and theory

T

I'm so bored of that apocalypse stuff too! I had no idea it was so dominant but yes it is very "cool" and often goes to number 1. it is a way to block the tender subtle alive reality... like, yes - pain destruction agony. yes. now, scrape yourself up off the floor.

let's figure out how to love. B

Yess !!

T

This is my philosophy slogan: thinking should know how to laugh, and cry. For some reason in 2008 I started to talk about death, for real. instead of the usual academic game: "I am so clever and I am so beyond emotion and full of cynicism and despair, therefore I am right." I get a vanishing number of 20-something boys who want to do some kind of " I'm smarter than you because my horror is bigger than yours" ****-measuring... they think I am stupid because I can't see how hopeless everything is lol. maybe the dark boys are obsessed because they sense something already there that's missing in their sense of who they are and of reality?


77

we are spokespeople for the realm of physical otherness? the scary land of cause and effect? aka the sonic ocean aka the sensual ocean...

Hegel has this really good idea. which is that ideas and philosophies come with attitudes coded into them. they select for attitudes like viruses select for certain susceptible lifeforms. when you sort of "own" the attitude rather than letting it rule you, it dissolves and you are on to the next one.

so ideas are always on the MOVE. He has this great thing about this attitude he calls the beautiful soul. the beautiful soul (I call it bs for short) sees the world (everything else) as evil, me, "pure" over here, world "evil" over there. all is corrupt.. it's the dark boys in a nutshell really. "I am pure in my total horror at the state of things" so... this is the really really amazing bit: hegel argues that this very attitude is the evil.


How to love: art and theory

th

e

e

e as

y yo u s

v il I S t

wa

he

like

e

il. ev

wor ld the T

The "logical" solution. Kill yourself or kill the world or do nothing, frozen in the headlights. it's Iike a super super addictive attitude to the ecological panic, right? so, one "owns" this - one accepts that one's very gaze directly is the evil that one thinks one is seeing "over there", realizing that the way you see the world is the evil you see in it. it's awesomely loopy and not preachy. it has that essential goth twisty, what do you think?

B

Thats so spot on !!!

T

Nice one!!! I just knew you'd dig it. I still can't get over the fact that you quoted the two most important things have ever said.anyway, look at this beautiful tiny sparkling void, it isn't nothing at all, it's beautiful. wordsworth made it, as a way to channel the wetness to his home... [picture file]


67 79

B

Very OOO, here's a waterfall in my land that opted for a subterranean life. the river that isnt. [video file]

T

The river that isn't!!! this unseeing is so vivid. A mountain's haiku about a waterfall. we're carving out new hope spaces. sadness, longing, hope, susceptibility, laughter. good ecological recipes. then how about this: between music and words you are allowing the unspeakable to manifest. I like this word unspeakable. It feels ego-puncturing yet beautiful yet weird yet fascinating yet spooky yet physical nonhuman yet human.

like bataille's idea of spirituality, when one feels prana it is like that. the rushing quality and the tendrils climbing up quality and the hairs on one's body waving like coral quality. B

I just created headspace to go back read all of our emails so far and all these words are so internal now!!! I guess I have a habit of physically absorbing things which comes in handy when I sing. so I guess my only clumsy way to do this is in a round about way, around theory and that might become the subtheme of our little quest.


How to love: art and theory

slippery hand reaches even slippery tail. B

I feel also there is a reason why I havent embroidered elaborate phrases so far about my stance in this world. probably because it doesnt sing well! yes you're right about the "unspeakable"... my lyrics are more like signposts on music moods to kinda shortcut to the feeling.

T

In your message, theory and art as the slippery hand chasing the slippery tail: perfect. you know I'm arguing all the time now that reality is like jรถrmungandr, and everything in it is also a tailbiting loop, because of urth or in your language everything is an Isobel??? much better than "object" I do declare.

B

Ha ha. My Isobel was perhaps partly overcoming the ridicule of the singer/songwriter mission, why this possessed need to tell your tale? so most of my lyrics I have written myself, but roughly one lyric per album i've sat down with my oldest mate and author Sjon and we've documented together this separate mythological character Isobel but I'm not sure how much it travels to the listeners that it is sort of taking the piss a little. I find it hilarious!!! her name is a little magic realist drama kinda sensationalism, over-romantic, Ha ha. and she has an urban/rural dilemma she is constantly trying to solve, Ha ha. as if!!! you could.


81

T

Hahaha yes yes. Well of course a line that says "my name isobel" might be pretending somehow. there is always a gap between the one who is narrating and one who is narrated. also the gothic-ness is a giveaway - I love that mode as it's like pure fiction plus seriousness and you can't tell exactly where the two join or separate... like robert smith's hairdo. "objects" are comical like that: they are totally what they are yet never quite what they seem - they are always doing slapstick. This isn't just silly. I think that there is a deep connection in your work between self-care and care for other beings, which is ecology. think about "all is full of love" and its video, or the line from "unison": "one hand loves the other so much on me." this is really significant for me as sensual relations with the "self" or the body are missing in much of western ideology, and I think it's very destructive. Nietzsche:

"love your neighbor as yourselves, but first be such as love yourselves." Isobel had a point, only the wounded narcissist accuses the other of narcissism, like when a bully goes "I don't like bullies" just before they bully you. the human relation to nature is a massive narcissistic wound. we need to heal it - not to sound too superego, like filthy-look-from-the-perfect-hippie kind of way. to care for one's "self" as another: being in a loop. there are always at least two things, never just one. narcissism has a bad rap. it's not solipsism.



83

Ecological care


Ecological care

B

Yes it is sssooo important "not to sound too superego, like filthy-look-from-the-perfect-hippie" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. that could be our downfall ,the pit we should avoid. I love this:

caring for yourself = caring for another entity = the beginnings of ecological care


85

T

Indulge me while I try to go a bit hi def with this very same concept. first, I really do want to put you outside the ism world as currently defined. you do have a whole style that burns through your work, so that's not what I'm saying - hang on! In your art, it seems these non-you entities take the lead and you merge. not the same as being passive at all. more like making love with them, allowing them to exist from their own side. leaning into them. just like listening comes before language or music. there is no ism to describe this! I'm not sure there can be because like I say ism implies there is a mapped out grid for how to approach beings. How about paneroticism? even that isn't it. I can't stand putting you in a box. can't stand it! "sophisticated" modernity culture seems to want to laugh at protectiveness or fear for other lifeforms. yet in an ecological age, even if you have indifference, that's a form of caring. your skin cares about being burned by the too strong sunlight, even if you think you don't care about global warming. paneroticism would be care turned up to 11 haha. I'm so familiar with depression and I know it's a trap, like an allergic reaction of the intellect to its poor host being.

trying to kill desire is

the modern sport.


T

including looping it through plastic "sexualized" (actually the opposite) whatevers. "Narcissism" is the favorite accusation of the one who is wounded - especially when it's a deliberate, self-inflicted wound of coolness. think about the overture of wagner's "tristan and isolde", the aching chord of doomed love. tragedy. everyone dies when they melt together, kind of a scared boy attitude to the eroticism. I put that wagner against your "unison" in class yesterday. powerful, remorseless gentleness. merging but not to death. disappearing into the music but not erased. merging, which is not one and not two. [compliment warning] joyful, funny, gorgeous. the final score: wagner 0, bjork 10. [compliment forgiveness please]

B

A miracle of a post!! sorry I didnt get to read it until now. what a pleasure to read!!! and the tone of it, that tilt between humour and awe and humility and yet slightly cocky : I absolutely adore it! such a precise mood yes : we can merge and survive

1 + 1 is three, I know it. My author/philosopher friend O ddný Eir Ævarsdóttir pointed out a website to me once, with a theory that if you could put religions on opposite ends of a certain homemade scale, where one could measure the amount of "feminine emotive" values and then other pole "masculine abstract" (which we all have both of). zen Buddhism would be furthest to the abstract point, where one takes oneself outside the swell and looks at feeling and stuff from afar and


87

empties oneself, empties, empties and if one empties enough one merges with all and nirvana. And on the other opposite end is sufi where you fall in love with your day and your pomegranate and your teacup and your lover and the song you are turning in circles to : aim is to merge merge merge and if you merge well enough you "empty" and become one with all. so whatever suits your character, go this way... Was thinking about when you wrote : "this is my

eventually it leads to the same place. philosophy slogan: thinking should know how to laugh, and cry". how you seem determined to include feelings in philosophy. no prizes for guessing I feel I belong to the latter group. sooo sufi (but maybe some dark beats are Buddhist, and melodies sufi?) and it made me think perhaps it is even simpler: you told me you were surrounded by music as a child, the music in my household was like loud like all the time so this became the ocean I lived in. like physics sonic liquid. and all else like life and such were berries on top. and I get so lost without it, like literally a fish out of water. I didnt really take this thought that much further, but it somehow went with the river that isnt and wordsworth darn and perhaps your dark boys and my euphoric matriarchs? hmm... throw in a spanner in the water.

T

You find escape routes for people don't you? I know I can find them for others but sometimes hard to find for myself. Devotion. you know it's not necessarily to a teacher or a human but could be to the teacup, lover, song, dance. not to mention the pomegranate


Ecological care

T

bleeding all over one's fingers deliciously. it's like enlightened lust. like passion is the basic fundamental force of this universe and you shouldn't delete that, unless you want to go crazy or start world war 3. or is it 4 already?! Intellectual buddhists think it's about total abstraction. you never need to handle a pomegranate or even meditate. you can get there by understanding. zen can tend to look at feeling from afar and so they have some kind of hangover from that, very masculine and careful. but for me "understanding" = standing under surface of the river that isn't. Oh wow yes "one takes oneself outside the swell and looks at feeling and stuff from afar and empties oneself, empties, empties and if one empties enough one merges with all and nirvana!". all my stuff: you can never truly exit the swell... Some anonymous someone said in the house scene in 1988: "just dance until your ego splatters all over the floor. then dance on that." because in the inner space, it might be like this: there is never ego, there is just this dancing fire. quivering, trembling. so the point is to make things that cause the inner space to sparkle or quake. to make some kind of subject-quake. it's nice in german: einschĂźtterung. inner shuddering. impossible to describe - "like a mute tasting sugar". how can the river that isn't speak its merging into the rock. Just love this lifeform. you will soon find yourself in a dance. in this dance, your partner and you are not one and yet not two. there is a pomegranate, it's not just an illusion. but it's a faerie pomegranate bursting with [unspeakable]". Oh Bjork that is so good, empty empty empty Âť merge vs merge merge merge Âť empty. that second one is the right way for me. emptiness is a kinda abstract word for kind of a sensation, in fact, I reckon. without the idea that philosophy can cry and laugh, the game becomes pure cold "wisdom"


89

rather than philo-sophy, the love of wisdom. just being totally right, which is totally wrong.

B

"You find escape routes for people don't you ?" I'm clumsy at a lot of things but you're right, so far I've been kinda ok at emotional strategy : perhaps see all as emotional chronology somehow. that is the continuity I connect to, swallow that pulse and hike trancelike onwards on that emo dna... the spine of time, ha ha ha ha ha, I'm not having it any other way and often I can explain to my friends like a sport commentator what is happening to them... But then last year and a half, all that I knew so far : wasnt isnt and gone. so I tried to dervish me out of it, wringer ranger rotator in that magma before it coagulated but non of the old tricks worked anymore... so I have been casting me a new set of spanners. I guess I got like fired from the patriarchs but hired by herds of matriarchs surrounding me offering ecstatic beats and djing. And i've been thinking a lot about that dark beats are buddhist and melodies sufi. your comment cracked me up "look at feeling from a far so they have some sort of hangover from that, very masculine and careful" ha ha ha ah ha. careful hangover from too much distance... ha ha ha ha ha ha Anyway here comes one of my favorite discoveries of last few years... it is by a russian minimalist, Vladimir Martynov. but instead of some of the usa minimalists : being post modern, often ironic and distant, this is full full full passion! he decided to take favorite pieces his parents played him when he was a child : small sections and loop them (talking about the ocean of our parents!), so it could have been a pretentious concept job but what is so marvelous is that it is kinda the opposite. in this piece he takes a 10 minute section from Mahler's der Abschied and with spirally looping it over and


Ecological care

B

over extends it into 40 minutes. So he sort of took one of the most overdramatic moments in recent classical music and magnified it up like 138457!! for me somehow the looping serves as a truthful tunnel into his childhood so it doesnt feel like stealing at all. the telescope is obvious. not hidden and then of course the amount of rearranging and craftsmanship and work he puts into it adds to the refinement and quality of it. it is extremely dramatic so be careful but there is light at the end of the tunnel. if you get through it, it ends super prettily. Anyway : this made me think of that a lot of the minimalists are actually buddhists... my favorite of theirs are the exceptions : where they have passion. like Steve Reichs Tehillim. (ha ha ha does remind me though of one of my favorite venezuelan matriarchs getting uncontrollable laughing fits over the wooden classical wrist of the maracas shaker in that one, ha ha ha ha, passion but some lack of merge in his bones). I love so much when you mentioned in them rave years everyone was djing some kind of truth "just dance until your ego splatters all over the floor". I remember so well from that period when like all music like ever made got divided into if you could dance to it or not ha ha ha ha ha. just too much thinking had entered music... so even classical shit or world music or whatever genre was like erased if it didnt swing... and the further reach the better:


91

ST

ARTI

like drones, buildings or them Buddhist things? looped and gridded. GAPS

streamlined and abstract swirling sufi style all around you. PHILOSOPHER 'S

we must unite the two, tim MIND

T

In the music now - oh thanks for sending! I love it so much already and I'm only at 7:o6. all the overdrama sucked out and my soul can breathe. indeed martynov has found the really hurty bit. well, by isolating that small part martynov seems to let all the human ego drama narrative melt away until you are left with this non-ego emotion. that is just total [swear word swear word] genius. you can "study" it as it rotates and be in it at the very same time Mahler minus ego. it is after all the song of the earth not the song of Mahler's strangulation of time or even better: just pure pain, no suffering??? Thank you Martynov, the ego-stripper, you have contributed to world peace.



93

A map


A map

B

I adore this email! when you talk about he sucked the ego out of him! and only pain no suffering... no flamboyance in this drama, ha ha ha ha ha, no feathers.... hopefully not too boring the polarizing of the sufi merge and the zen abstract. Sorry I zoomed out, once we were getting on a good elevated airy whirl, I needed a map... I needed to northsouth me somehow... and you have helped me so much!! to name my original coordinates on this map. how to rediscover the natural merger. this time I'm not exiting the swell...

T

I loved the zoom and the wonderful map. "we were getting on a good elevated airy whirl" - still there! if there is any money made from this I would like mine to go to lifeforms, coral perhaps? I love coral and it's dying and bleaching, and it's such a total world down there. I think of OOO as the discovery of a gigantic sparkling coral reef too deep for most philosophy to notice, sharks floating about, anemones with tendrils. things that could be alive, could be dead. could be plant, could be animal. could be a whole entity yet made of all kinds of things that don't add up to it. we are sewn into this reef, with clown fish cleaning our nostrils while looking up at illusion reflections of us looking down with underwater scopes from the scientific surface... As I read through our emails, I'm finding something wonderful. if you strip away the "you" and "me" lines you get two very very clear things. first there are really crystal statements about art and politics and ecology and objects and on and on and on, all integrated and very meaningful!!! and then you get these incredible things: sheep horns, dams, farm, foss, voices, antlers, norns, magnetic shields, sun, atoms... it goes on and on!!! I can see these two "channels" mixed together yet separated, like in a paradox: our "human" statements about art, from


95

which emerges a manifesto; and nonhuman beings, crowding in, laughing, crying and supporting and undermining and shadowing the human. we really did something, and continue to do so really really like a lot.


A map


97



99


BJORK


101

TIMOTHY MORTON


References

Images

Part I: Animism & Basic Ecological Attitude: Low Cost Design - a book by Daniele Pario Perra. with the partecipation of Emiliano Gandolfi texts by Beppe Finessi, Francesco Morace & Pierluigi Sacco Part II: Vulnurability & Experimental Emotion Regonition: Internet's most secret search engines. Part III: Resonance & The Unexplained Underwater Sounds: Manipulated by Raz Shraga. Part V & IV: Ecological Care & A Map: A collection taken from Amit Naamani reservoir.

Text

Björk Archives: Four booklets archive consists the first complete retrospective of a contemporary icon, prepared with Björk’s active creative involvement throughout. illustrated texts by, respectively, Klaus Biesenbach, Alex Ross, Nicola Dibben and Timothy Morton, while the poster features artwork of Björk’s albums and singles. Published by Thames & Hudson. Designed by M/M Studio.

A Map is designed, edited & composed by Raz Shraga. Bookbinding by Daniel Bloom.


103

tel aviv † israel † 2015/2016



Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.