What do music, technology and preserving our planet have in common? Björk's latest project!
Biophilia is a collaboration between the artist and app developers, scientists, writers, inventors, musicians and instrument makers to create a unique multi-media exploration of the universe and its physical forces – particularly those where music, nature and technology meet. The project is inspired by and explores these relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena, from the atomic to the cosmic.
What began as an artistic concept (10 songs with 10 emotions and 10 connections to the natural world) became a pioneering "app album" where each track is an app of its own, and incorporates interactive features that allow users to play and compose music interactively, using patterns and sounds found in nature.
Interestingly, the project has now evolved into an innovative way of teaching music and science using patterns from nature. In several countries, including Iceland, the Biophilia Educational Program is soon to be on the curriculum funded by the Nordic Council. It's truly groundbreaking (like everything Björk does), a dramatic break from conventional teaching methods. The project merges music and science together in a new and exciting way, interactively and creatively engaging students to explore concepts, from viruses to tectonic plates and solstices. Visit http://biophiliaeducational.org/ to read more about the project.
Björk is among the most unique artists of our time, but she's also a committed environmentalist, who's fiercely battling against big business to defend Iceland's landscape. Activists accuse the Icelandic government of industrialising the country's pristine wilderness, particularly the highlands, through "back-door deals with foreign aluminium giants involving tax incentives and undeclared sweeteners."
I think Björk's approach is laudable and super smart: Engage younger generations in a) understanding the issues and b) developing the skills and innovative thinking that can help us find solutions through technology, so that we can, as she puts it "take a short cut to the green sh*t".
Biologist Edward O Wilson coined the term "biophilia" in 1984, saying that we are hard-wired to associate with other forms of life. Nowadays, I'd say it's an expression of the current impulse towards environmentalism and conservation: We need nature and therefore we need to protect it. It's encouraging to see how grass roots movements are having much more traction than global efforts. More on why local is beating global conservation efforts here: https://openminds.swissre.com/stories/658/ "Community engagement proves key to ocean conservation"
David Attenborough, a big fan of the project, introduces Biophilia: "We are on the brink of a revolution that will reunite humans with nature through new technological innovations. Until we get there, prepare, explore... Biophilia." As the Germans say: Your words in God's ears, Mr. Attenborough. Until then, I encourage everybody to download the Biophilia app and playfully explore everything from lighting bolts and Tesla's coils to how viruses and their hosts interact.
Read today's Guardian story: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jun/15/bjork-venture-capitalists-iceland-understand-future-in-nature -- "Björk: 'Even venture capitalists understand our future is in nature'"
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Resilience
Location: Reykjavik, Capital Region, Iceland