Black Lake

 

Ce film de 10 minutes réalisé par Andrew Thomas Huang était la pièce centrale de la rétrospective au MoMA. Il a été tourné dans une cave en Islande où Björk évolue sur une chorégraphie de Erna Ómarsdóttir.

Teaser

Making of

Installation au MoMA

Le film a été présenté dans une installation sonore et visuelle recréant l’univers du lieu de tournage. Cette pièce designée par David Benjamin du studio new-yorkais The Living, est une combinaison de 50 enceintes et 6000 cônes de tissus où le film est projeté simultanément sur 2 écrans avec différents angles de vue issus de la même vidéo.

Installation au Vivid Sydney

Une version plus imposante avec 54 haut parleurs et des écrans géants de l’installation sera présentée au Vivid Sydney du 4 au 18 juin au Carriageworks. Plus d’infos sur l’exposition

Anecdotes

- Le montage final est légèrement différent de la version présentée lors de l’exposition au MoMA. Une version 2 écrans est disponible pour comparer les montages.

- La cave utilisée pour le tournage appartient au frère de Björk

Photos

Björk à propos du film

Andrew Huang, the director, came to Iceland and we were looking for this scene. It’s like the wound is being healed. So we were trying to find cliffs that we shaped like a wound, so I could be inside the wound. Iris Van Helpen is an incredible craft designer. She designed most of the dresses for Biophilia. She did this dress that is metallic, and is kind of like lava.

People say Biophilia is like —it’s like my sci-fi album. This is my very psychological, in-my-apartment album. I say that tongue in cheek, don’t take that too seriously. It’s funny. So that was sort of the language we were trying to find.

The video goes through several different landscapes, but the story is kind of, spatially, told in the landscape. It’s kind of tight—this is quite tight. This is not the tightest one. And then it’s a resolution. Well at least we try for some sort of healing and liberation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the lyrics, but the last verse is about healing. And the last shot is sort of like a space shuttle. Kind of like when you see the space rockets, going out like the NASA ones. I like that.

It’s been one of the longest relationships I’ve had, with Andrew. Because of MoMA, it wasn’t just a three-month, four-month music video process. He came into the picture almost a year ago and we’ve had like a hundred meetings. It it becomes like a bureaucracy thing when you do it with art museums. But this is how it ended up. Time - Mars 2015

Hi Björk ! The Black Lake teaser is very different from the final version screened at the MoMA. And the online version offers also a different edit. What happened during the editing process - did you change your mind through it ? The audio edit seems different aswell, was it purely to suit the video form or you wanted to use another version ?
i think me and andrew kept wanting the song to be rawer and rawer and more and more without special effects : to go totally "ingmar bergman" on it . so the "book cover" ended up being a book cover ..... i kinda insisted on doing long takes in this song ... its such a weird song and still a mystery to me ... it has very precise needs and not everything goes with it
like your stern older serious aunt ha ha ha ha ha Dazed & Confused - Juin 2015

Björk tells The Creators Project that watching Black Lake at MoMA was “so physical it makes my insides rumble.
(...)
“It was very cold there and I was singing fully voiced and was walking barefoot on the lava so it was kinda extreme conditions but perfect for the song. This is probably one of my most visceral songs, so [it was] essential to go to that place.”

The Creators Project - Février 2016

Emotionally that song is so difficult, it’s the toughest song I’ve ever written, so filming it went hand in hand. I was barefoot in lava, it was a cold day — it was really hilarious. LA Weekly, mai 2017

Andrew Thomas Huang à propos du film

It was deceivingly a huge amount of work. Especially since liquids in CG are incredibly difficult. It’s a long piece, a 10-minute film. It never felt like we were making a music video - it felt like we were making a film. It was edited in Adode Premier and a lot of it was composited in Flame, supported by Autodesk. We used Maya and Houdini too. It was important for me to make a very naked, raw piece, but it’s Bjork, so there’s got to be something heightened about this journey. And as a film-maker, I’ve got to give it a bit of spice. The idea is that when she walks through the landscape, she’s weaving her music into the ground through her footsteps. The most emotional and powerful parts of the video all involved bare-bones choreography and nothing else. The film was choreographed by her friend Erna Omarsdottir. I-D - Mars 2015

When you first heard the song ‘Black Lake’ what sort of imagery or feelings did it conjure in your mind. What was your initial reaction ?

My first reaction was that it was a very spatial song and for me that begged to be an installation, and it made sense to be an ongoing looping piece in the museum. It was also maybe one of the most direct and vulnerable pieces from her. The first time I heard it, it was a demo, it was just sketches, but I can see what she was going for and I was really excited by the opportunity to work within the structure of that song. milkmade.com - Mars 2015

She tends to write music walking and we wanted the film to be a traveling film where she’s walking through the landscape as she’s singing. So that became the kind of pilgrimage/journey format for the film, but I felt like we’ve seen Iceland so many times now in movies, and this was a very operatic and dramatic heartbreak nocturnal kind of song, I wanted to shoot Iceland at night. I wanted to make Iceland the stage on which she is performing this opera. milkmade.com - Mars 2015

We were trying to carve out a journey where she starts the song in the ravine and goes deeper into a cave where the most intense part of the song is and as she comes out, she reemerges and then arises in a new dawn. For me, even though the song had a perpetual scrolling feel or looping feel, there was very much a clear journey in the verses as far as the beat structure, and I wanted the film to marry that. I also knew in order for this to be a good film, and also an entertaining film, there had to be a story, and so there had to be the typical hero’s journey into the valley of trials, being in the belly of the beast and the reemerging as a new person. So it was a traditional narrative in that way.milkmade.com - Mars 2015

We had one rehearsal and that was quite explosive and informative. She wrote the song at one of her lowest points and by the time I ended up filming it, it had been almost half a year. So part of her kind of dealt with it and part of her hadn’t actually physically performed it, and when we rehearsed it for the first time it was really quite incredible. The rehearsal footage was actually really phenomenal because she’s just really comfortable. We were just in the studio, and she wasn’t restricted by the landscape or anything and it became quite apparent what this would be. milkmade.com - Mars 2015

The ambition of the installation itself tempered by the physics and architectural space of the existing museum, and also that as a non-profit institution there’s certain rules that we had to abide by. Simultaneously, if it weren’t for the museum and their funding of this piece it wouldn’t have happened. So in a way they completely enabled us to do it, yet at the same time there were certain physical limitations on the way it could be presented and shot as well. Originally I was going to shoot it in 360, but we could never quite guarantee the funding to get 360 projections, which is quite expensive. So that’s why we shot it traditionally, but the context is different. We’re making a piece of art not necessarily a pop-video, but then Björk is a pop artist so it’s kind of okay for us to collapse those two a little bit. We were all a little aware of the ultimate place and home that this piece is going to live in. milkmade.com - Mars 2015

"When she played [the song] Black Lake for me, it was very apparent that that should be the piece," he continues. "It was just very clear to me that that was a scrolling piece that could live in a museum, it was very spatial. So basically that became the new commission that MoMA was going to fund us to make."
[...]
Despite the team’s enthusiasm for 360, Huang decided to shoot the film traditionally, due to budget limitations. But to create an immersive environment the final work is shown across two screens, in a specially designed space created by architectural practice The Living. The room features walls formed from hand-stitched black felt cones, which are presented in various sizes, in response to the sound waves of the music.
[...]
It was really intense, emotionally and physically," says Huang. "I’m asking her to relive her divorce on camera, repeatedly, over multiple takes, all the way until 5am in the morning. In the frigid cold, while she was barefoot. "For her, it was kind of like, ’I’ve been feeling this for such a long time, I need to get it out now, otherwise my performance isn’t going to be great’. So it was like, ’right, let’s get it, get it, get it’. But wait, we have to get it in the cave, and we have to get it in the ravine, and we have to go over here for the fields... And you know, it was on an indie budget. It was very ambitious
Creative Review - Avril2015

“This was such an intimate piece that Björk ultimately is the special effect,” Huang continues, “For Björk, this wasn’t her acting. She was really accessing something truthfully personal in front of us.”
The Creators Project - Février 2016

It was shot in a very traditional, Ingmar Bergman-stark way. That was a conscious attempt on both her and my part. Seeing this traditionally but in a large-scale, tapestry-like format was the way to go. It’s like a death song – it’s a song about the death of her relationship and who she was. It made sense to shoot it in this traditional medium, and then everything after that we did using this new technology.
In a way, I did feel that life imitated art, where “Black Lake” was incredibly difficult to film. It was cold, she was barefoot. We shot it in the summer, which meant that the amount of night time that we actually had was very limited. We had to shoot this all at 4 AM. Red Bull Music Academy - Octobre 2016

Presse

The MoMA-commissioned film was directed by visual guru Andrew Thomas Huang and filmed over three days in Björk’s native Iceland. In the film, her intimate, one-on-one performance embodies the grueling post-heartbreak healing process, augmented by Huang’s stunning VFX.
The Creators Project - Février 2016

Iris Van Herpen à propos des 2 robes


“Sometimes I make a dress for her that is based on a design that I already did, but this was more customized, where she really explained to me the concept of the song and the video and the artwork that she wanted to make for MoMA. It was really from scratch, from the beginning on, and [the pieces were in both] materials and techniques I never did before. It was really for her and the concept of the song.”

“I didn’t want to have a really smooth dress”

“I wanted it to be raw, and that’s why we did all the pleating by hand. I [wanted] it to fit with the rocks and the landscape of Iceland.” Style - Mars 2015

News

- Björk présente Vulnicura VR

 

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