Alistair Beattie

Alistair Beattie is from Me Company, which produced and directed the ’Hunter’ video.

Why a bear ?

We use the bear as a literal symbol of strength, ferocity, self-determination and the North, a pioneering roaming spirit. Hunter is a song about two different states, that of the hunter and the gatherer. The polar bear is the perfect symbol of the hunter state, it polarizes (ahem !) the difference between the two into something really extreme and magical. The choice of a techno-bear, though, has more to do with the idea of the beating heart of technology. Björk’s music often has a dialogue between organic forms and techno forms, and we share this interest. It’s not photoreal ; it’s able to collapse itself and rebuild itself at will. We had no desire to make it naturalistic.

Why is it so stark ?

The video is something like a koan or a haiku — it tries to ask the question in the most interesting manner possible. We wanted the effects to be done right in front of your eyes ; we didn’t want things to be hidden or faked or obscured. The magic and illusion are all the more powerful when it doesn’t feel like it’s being performed behind a veil of smoke and mirrors.

Is it easy to do this kind of morphing on computers ?

The technical skills required to do this kind of work are found only in a very few places, and we were lucky to land ourselves with a team of incredibly talented people at Digital Domain. What’s more interesting to us is that so much technology was used in such an invisible way. We never wanted the process to obscure the result. The nature of the special effects experience is that you don’t know how it was done ; the illusion is "sold" to you and you either buy it or you don’t. The heart and soul of the piece was Björk’s performance ; we shot 12 takes and then selected the best. The mantra throughout the production was that the performance must drive the computer graphics.

How much did it cost to make ?

This is not a question that we feel comfortable answering. Can we ask you a question ? What relevance does the bear have to good modern product design ?

I don’t know.

Transformative products are exciting, but robo-pets are even more exciting. We were interested in making the technology very visible, but also playing with translucency and transparency, soft boundaries. The irony of the digital age is that, as technology gets more invisible, people are more interested in being able to see it again, as in Apple Computer’s iMac, with its translucent blues and milky plastics that simultaneously tease and reveal.

What does Björk think of the video ?

She thinks it is "techno," one of her favorite words.

"Bear With Me" - I.D. Magazine, November 1997