Photography and artwork by Sam Falls
The August issue of Dazed & Confused magazine is guest edited by Björk. Dazed editor-in-chief, Rod Stanley interviewed her at home in Brooklyn. In an online excerpt from that conversation, she discusses her involvement with politics in her native Iceland.
“I thought I would never ever get involved in politics, because when I was younger you couldn’t get un-cooler than that! Then I saw how they were planning to change Iceland from an untouched natural spot into something like Frankfurt. People my age and younger didn’t have a voice.” Björk explains that she gave a concert that “30,000 people came to ... 10 per cent of the nation!” but felt that this changed nothing, and started workshops with her friend, the author and philosopher Oddn} Eir Ævarsdóttir, to encourage young businesses. Then the 2008 bank crash happened, almost wiping out the Icelandic economy overnight.
“All these economists were like our best mates by then, so we were right in the centre of it. And a lot of people in my generation who never cared about politics before were like, ‘This is an emergency situation!’ It was kind of amazing, though, because we’re such a small country that we can actually make changes.” Some of Björk’s friends even formed a political party called the Best Party, with a stand-up comedian running for mayor. “And he won! Much to his surprise! So now for 11 months all these punks have been running the city! We started a petition, and before I came here to complete my album we had a karaoke marathon for five days — it was amazing ... we got 40,000 signatures, and there are only 350,000 people in Iceland. Then we delivered it to the Prime Minister; that was a moment! We will see what happens, but at least it raised awareness.”
“It was a lot of work, but if you do all that work and don’t follow it up it’s never going to change anything.”
Björk: Violently Appy at Dazed Digital
Below, a brilliant in-concert version of Meredith Monk’s “Gotham Lullaby.” Recorded live at Union Chapel with Brodsky Quartet in 1999: