Sometimes it feels as if Björk exists in different galaxy from the rest of us. The Icelandic artist has always been light years ahead when it comes to mixing technology and creativity. She released an interactive app in conjunction with her song "Virus" in 2011, reflected on robot love in her Y2K-esque video for "All Is Full of Love," and has a VR exhibition hitting L.A. later this month. So if there's any pop star we should take tech advice from, it's Björk. And surprisingly, the avant-garde pop star thinks we all need to put down our smartphones and go outside.
In a new interview with Pitchfork, Björk issues a call for readers to log off of Facebook. "Maybe there are a lot of kids now who don't know how to walk in a forest and do basic outdoorsy things," she muses after explaining that the world still has to "define technology." "You can be on Facebook for a long time and then you get a feeling in your body like you've had three hamburgers," she says. "You know it's trash. I always advise my friends: just go for a walk for an hour and come back and see how you feel then."
While Björk says she misses living in Iceland full time and regrets that she isn't "living on totally green energy and growing all my own vegetables," she doesn't think technology is entirely evil. She sees VR as a tech sector that cultivates more gender equality than others. "What's exciting about VR is that right now it doesn't have the hierarchy of patriarchy," she explains. "There are so many girls in it. I shot seven or eight VR videos now, worked with seven or eight different teams, and there's a lot of girls out there. I'm hoping that that will kind of come to mirror the time that we're in, where boys and girls are more equal."
Björk's words have weight. Social media has been linked to higher raters of depression. While today's apps provide unparalleled tools for connecting, communicating, and advocating, perhaps we should follow Björk's advice to "put humanity into technology" — to use it to "be more creative," and a little less for memes.
Text André-Naquian Wheeler
Photography Ari Magg
[The Passionate Issue, No. 244, June 2004]