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Bjork 2

Bjork 2

Chris Cunningham’s clip for “All Is Full of Love” may be the most erotic of all of Björk’s videos, even more so than the series created for the singles off of Vespertine which we’ll get to in a couple of days. For the concluding track off of Homogenic, Björk’s stab at a millennial hymn, Cunningham’s reimagined the singer as a disabled android lying listless and unused in an antiseptic space, her face an eerily elastic and human porcelain mask fronting a mass of machinery. A handful of mechanical arms enter the space and begin poking and prodding at her: tightening screws, replacing pieces, greasing joints, until she comes alive, lips moving with the lyrics, eyes focused, but strangely deadened. Nearly midway through, immediately after a quick shot that finds time turned backwards and fluid dripping upwards, (what better visual metaphor for love at first sight) a reverse shot reveals an identical droid reaching out longingly towards the first. The rest of the video finds the two machines kneeling together in silhouette, kissing and caressing each other while the mechanical arms continue their work. Wholly erotic (look closely and see a hand out inch out of a crotch or onto an ass), yet still creepy as all hell, the symmetrically composed closing minutes ply that ground of seductiveness subverting perversity that made many Cunningham’s Aphex Twin videos so disquieting. For possibly the gentlest, most wistful song on Homogenic, a new, scarier dimension’s been added, but one that’s not at all inappropriate given the expanse of the sonics in the song, and the album it was written for.

Michel Gondry’s first collaboration with Björk was on her very first single “Human Behavior.” It’s an early work, but some of his trademarks are already on display: an emphasis on hokey surrealism, willful shattering of perspectival relationships and an interest in outmoded animation technologies. If his first feature, the awful Human Nature, suffered for anything (besides the stunted, unfunny Kaufman script) it was the lack of this hand-crafted artisanal touch that blossomed in Eternal Sunshine and The Science of Sleep. In “Human Behavor” kitschy bugs, bears, and possums are all on display in a magical forest landscape presided over by a sprightly Björk who alternates playing at an overlarge table in an over-small cottage with reckless bounding through the fake woods. In her first single post-Sugarcubes, she looks as though she’s just out to have fun in Gondry’s well crafted dreamscape, but however much the clip does telegraph the director’s singular style, “Human Behavior” still pales when placed against the conceptually organic and icily precise “Joga.” It doesn’t help that the song itself might be about a minute longer than necessary; this one, even with all its moment-to-moment delights just runs out of steam.

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