There’s very little that can be said about this little Icelandic nymph that hasn’t already been said. Her quirky sense of sound and style has made her one of the most respected musicians in the industry. But what always seems to attract the public’s attention is her mind-bending music videos.
The first time I saw this woman-child on screen was in the form of two love making robots. From the outset, “All Is Full Of Love” was taboo around my house. Not because any of my family members even knew who (or what) Björk was, but because MTV wasn’t allowed in the household until I was about 15. It’s a pity the parents didn’t actually think that giving me my own television wouldn’t prompt me to seek out those things that were forbidden (somewhere in a parent’s mind it must dawn on them that “No” means an emphatic “Hell yes!” to a kid).
So here I was, about 13 years old, scanning MTV for anything remotely stimulating — and, as you all well know, there was plenty of stimulation to be had on 90s MTV. A video, coming straight from a space age freezer, graced my screen. I was immediately captivated.
Two robots, being built, are interacting with each other, reaching out for some sort of touch to reassure themselves that they are as much a part of the living breathing world as their human creators. The sexual undertones of the video (white liquid sprayed over gesticulating pistons), while erotic, are actually quite subtle to those who aren’t already full up of a lustful urge for anything perverted.
However, the eroticism lay in the sound of the music as it winds around the twin Björk androids. Their hands discovering the smooth surfaces and planes of each other, their mouths dancing in concert with the slow, sensual cadence of the background music. As the climax of the song thrushes through Björk’s vocal chords, the plant the two robots inhabit comes to life with sparks of electricity, the almost calculated caresses of each robot torture compared to the rapacious need for deep touch and exploration.
The camera pans back much in the way that it came forward, steeped in darkness, blasts of steely grey light flickering over wires and leaving our two white and silver robots to their physical intimacy.
Michael Gondry is a master of storytelling, allowing Björk to fill the space with her sound as he allows the light and darkness to play with the landscapes of her music.