Björk’s Lesbian Robots

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When Björk first met with director Chris Cunningham to plan the music video for her song “All is Full of Love,” she brought Chinese Kama Sutra prints with her as the primary guiding reference. Cunningham had also associated the track with sex upon hearing it, but could not figure out how to make the video explicit yet acceptable for television. The solution was robots. In an interview Cunningham explained “It’s a combination of several fetishes: industrial robotics, female anatomy, and fluorescent light in that order. It was perfect, I got to play around with the two things I was into as a teenager: robots and porn.”

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The song “All Is Full of Love” is from Björk’s 1997 album Homogenic, but the version that appears in the music video is actually the pre-album original mix solely produced by Björk. The song later received a full single release in June 1999 to coincide with the release of its music video. 

The music video depicts the assembling of a robot with Björk’s features and her passionately kissing another robot against an ethereal and sterile backdrop. Aside from the Chinese Kama Sutra prints, Björk’s only other guideline for Cunningham was that the video should be very white in color; she has recalled “I think the only thing I said was that I thought it was very white … and I’m trying to describe some sort of a heaven. But I wanted also to have the other level there, there would be lust, it wouldn’t be just clean … And I think I mentioned that I think it should be … something that is white and frozen, and then it sort of melts because of love and making love. It’s erotic.” In other interviews she has explained that the lyrics were inspired by the presence of love in the advent of spring and Norse mythology‘s Ragnarök.

The song’s video garnered acclaim from critics and is commonly regarded as one of the best music videos of all time and a milestone in computer animation. The subject of much analysis and scrutiny, it was on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and has been included in various art exhibitions. Music journalist Mark Pytlik wrote that the video “marked an unquestionable creative apex for Björk’s visual work, a perfect synthesis of form and content.” IGN gave the video a score of 9/10, writing it is an “utterly gorgeous sight to behold” and “just about perfect.” Time‘s Craig Duff called it a milestone in computer animation and stated that “no robot had expressed the sensuality that director Chris Cunningham imbues in a Björk-bot in the video.”

Chris Cunningham served as a model for a character in the novel Pattern Recognition (2003) by William Gibson, in which a fictitious music video director who puts “robot girls in his video” makes a clip characterized by the following words: “No sci-fi kitsch for Damien. Dreamlike things in the dawn half-light, their small breasts gleaming, white plastic shining faints as old marble;” a clear reference to “All Is Full of Love.”

Listen to more Outer Space Music HERE and see what happens when you get stuck between rock and a dork place.


 

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