Björk’s first international hit, “Human Behaviour” (1993) received scant radio play in North America. Rather, the Icelandic singer’s fame only grew as a result of MTV’s heavy rotation of the surrealist music video that accompanied the song, directed by Academy Award winner Michel Gondry. Despite the debt of celebrity she owed to television, Björk was not always a fan.
In the undated video above, Björk expounds on her Christmastime TV-watching habits. Immediately, the video takes an odd—or, I suppose, characteristically Björk-esque—turn when the young singer decides to take her TV apart:
But now I’m curious. I’ve switched the TV off and now I want to see how it operates. How it can make, put me into all those weird situations. So… It’s about time.
The various components prove fascinating, and Björk proceeds to describe the television’s hardware in her whimsical, otherworldly manner:
This is what it looks like. Look at this. This looks like a city. Like a little model of a city. The houses, which are here, and streets. This is maybe an elevator to go up there. And here are all the wires. These wires, they really take care of all the electrons when they come through there. They take care that they are powerful enough to get all the way through to here. I read that in a Danish book. This morning.
The most puzzling part of the video comes when Björk mentions that her cavalier approach to television is relatively new. Until recently, she had been guarded about her viewing habits:
I remember being very scared because an Icelandic poet told me that not like in cinemas, where the thing that throws the picture from it just sends light on the screen, but this is different. This is millions and millions of little screens that send light, some sort of electric light, I’m not really sure… Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture. And then because you’re so busy doing that, you don’t watch very carefully what the program you are watching is really about. So you become hypnotized.
Thanks to the wisdom contained within an unnamed Danish book, however, Björk has grown more at ease with the potential of television’s being used for mind control and hypnosis. At the end of the clip, she offers a final pearl of wisdom:
You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.
via The Atlantic
Ilia Blinderman is a Montreal-based culture and science writer. Follow him at @iliablinderman.