M/M (Paris)

Is the "Verspertine" CD package and video your first project for Björk ?

Our collaboration with her started in 1998, when she commissioned us together with photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for the sleeve of her compilation of videos, "Volumen". A year later she asked us again to think about her book project "Björk" as designers/editors, which is soon to be published by Little-I in the UK and Bloomsbury in the US. Then came the video, which was originally planned for a song from the "Dancer in the Dark" soundtrack. She was cherishing the project, but decided to postpone it a bit as she was writing new material she felt would fit even better with our initial ideas. It then became the video for "Hidden Place", the first single from "Vespertine". At the very end, she decided to ask the four of us to do the sleeve, as well.

How do you approach a project like this ?

Like any other project—same involvement, same interest. Our collaboration with her has been growing naturally and with mutual confidence over the years.

Did you deal with Björk directly or did art direction come from Elektra, the record label ?

Elektra is only the licensed label for the U.S. She commissions everything by herself, and is very instinctive... no control freak.

What was she like to work with ?

Genius, genuine, generous, and above all, trustful.

What was it like co-directing the video for "Hidden Place" ?

Spending four days in an empty, frozen 10,000 square foot studio shooting close-ups of a face and some liquids pouring over a mask was an unforgettable experience. Then spending days and days and days in some dark rooms looking at ever-changing-color-balance TV monitors in the back of an operator. Eating bad sandwiches, crisps and sushi.

Where did the idea come from to shoot the video for "Hidden Place" without any cuts ? Close-up shots panning around the face fit in very nicely with the theme of the song, as well.

We always wanted to get as close to her as we could, as we all felt she had never been portrayed as the "real" and beautiful woman she is. This is somehow taboo, to observe a pop star with no makeup from a distance of half an inch. Then the idea of the liquid works as a visualization of all possible emotions pulsating and circulating in her very busy brain. The loop idea was a main point for us as well, trying to extend the usual time frame of pop video super-fast editing, to make it hypnotising, mesmerising and irritating, like an eternally burning fireplace.

Did any good stories come out during the making of the project ?

She cooks good pasta with cream and caviar and sing-a-long Boney M tunes.

reservocation.com, issue 06 november 2001