Björk is coming to NYC. This has got me very excited. The enigmatic Icelander is debuting her new show, Cornucopia, with seven appearances throughout May and June. It’s gonna be music. It’s gonna be theatre. And I’m pretty sure it’s also gonna be bloody weird. That said, I can’t wait to be weirded out by her.
Not much is known about this new show, except that Björk has called it her ‘most elaborate staged concert to date’ and the imagery released for the show is reminiscent of the multicoloured alien like world from the video for 2017 release Utopia. So maybe that is what we should expect. What I can say for sure is that it appears she is still into flutes.
When I was a kid I would complain to my dad when he put on Björk: “Do we have to listen to that weird lady who makes train noises?” (see Hunter from Homogenic). As is often the case, Stockholm Syndrome turned me into a fan. Well, that and the uncompromising music. It is easy to find Björk’s influence over some of my favourite artists such as The Knife, Grimes, or Let’s Eat Grandma (who made my album of 2018). For me, what really stands Björk apart from her alt/pop/experimental/electronic/avant-garde contemporaries is the drama and power contained in her voice. I can’t wait to see that power unleashed when she comes to my city.
Not only am I excited about Björk, but she seems to have found the perfect spot for her new show. It is at a brand new venue called The Shed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as it is hosting Cornucopia, this is not your run-of-the-mill concert venue. The Shed will ‘bring together established and emerging artists in fields ranging from hip hop to classical music, painting to digital media, theatre to literature, and sculpture to dance.’ We will have to wait and see if they complete this ambition.
The recent renovation of Hudson Yards, where The Shed is located, mostly seems to be turning it into a sea of tall glass towers. But The Shed stands out. It looks nuts. It’s a weirdly angular version of the Eden Project and has the equally strange honeycomb-like maze of staircases called Vessel right next to it. And it doesn’t just look different; the main arena, in which Björk will play, is created when the building sheds its skin off (I just got the name of the building!). The whole outer shell moves on wheels to provide a cover for an adjacent plaza so that 2000 people can enjoy the show in a kind of inside/outside setting. It feels completely unnecessary and a bit bonkers, but hey; its art and it looks cool.
The combination of The Shed and Björk, each as otherworldly as the other, seems like a good reason to head down to Hudson Yards and drop some cash. I am expecting the unexpected.
Words by Matt Paul.