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Biophilia by Bjork
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Author: Laura Sydell
Music interacting with science

........During the time that Bjork was writing Biophilia, the iPad came out. Bjork says she was intrigued by the touch-screen technology and the creative possibilities it presented. She'd seen music apps before, but found most of them pretty superficial — just updates about tours or an extra interview. She says she wanted to go beyond that.

"The interactiveness goes really to the core of the music, the structure of the song," Bjork says. "It's not just something like an accessory. ... It is the song.".................



...............Songs As Games

In "Virus," Bjork turns a virus into a sort of natural femme fatale, to create a narrative about love so strong it kills the object of its affection — living cells. The app for that song, as well as several others, was designed by Scott Snibbe — he also helped coordinate the efforts of the other designers, who hailed from all over the world. "Virus," he says, works a bit like a game, in which beautiful pink cells are attacked by spiky green viruses.

"You can try to save the cell," Snibbe says, "but if you succeed in saving the cell the song stops progressing. And meanwhile, the cells around are singing along: You see nuclei turn into lips that sing along with the song."

Bjork says her view of nature is hardly romantic, and that she took care to ensure that the project didn't become Disney-fied.

"Coming from Iceland ... nature is anything but cute," she says. "I could never really understand why, when people think of nature, they think of flower power and acoustic guitars. It's very creative, nature. But it's also very destructive."

Musical Education

Scott Snibbe says he and Bjork communicated regularly, sometimes exchanging hundreds of emails a day. They also worked with scientists to make the apps as scientifically accurate as they could. But, Snibbe says, the project is more about whetting people's appetites than providing a lesson plan.

"It gets you excited to learn more about it. If you associate viruses with a great song by Bjork and this emotional, strange, animated love story, then you might pay attention a little bit more in class," Snibbe says. "Or you might type it into Google and see a little bit about how it works."

Bjork says she wants to help people explore. Rather than schedule a traditional concert tour, with a day or two in each city, she plans residencies that will last for two months or more in 10 cities around the world. She'll play a couple nights a week and then spend time at a local museum, working with kids on music and science projects. Bjork says watching her 8-year-old daughter play with the Biophilia app of the solar system made her she realize its potential.

"She knew more about the solar system than I learned from five years of school..................

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  Tags:   Computer Technology    SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY    music and science    music apps    Bjork    interactive music


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