November 18, 2013

Björk explains television from the poetic perspective but warns you not to let poets lie to you.

All those dots that make up the picture are "millions and millions of little screens," and so "you are watching very many things when you are watching TV."
Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture. And then because you're so busy doing that, you don't watch very carefully what the program you are watching is really about. So you become hypnotized. So all that's on TV, it just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging it's right or not.  You just swallow and swallow. This is what an Icelandic poet told me....
Full text at the link, but it's better in video form (if you can handle all those tiny little dots):

44 comments:

Paul said...

She's quite charming, isn't she?

JackOfVA said...

And, the little people that live in the printed circuit board city inside your TV set can look back through the screen at you.

That's why it's important to always cover your TV screen with a blanket so you can't be covertly observed.

Strelnikov said...

Bjork? She's still alive?

SGT Ted said...

I love it when artists make dopey statements that assume an advantage in their own smarts. Only she can see the invidious hypnotism of Commercial TV and she just has to warn us. A Poet told her so, it must be Truth.

"Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture."

What horseshit. No, it isn't. Not anymore than when you look out the window at a bird.

Is "charming" an euphemism for "stupidly cute"? If so, I would agree.

Mike Yancey said...

> Bjork? She's still alive?

Not if she touches any of those capacitors that may still have a charge on them...

Sorun said...

"Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture."

That's why watching TV is so exhausting.

rhhardin said...

We used to do it with shadows.

Robert Cook said...

This seems to be an old video, given the tv is a CRT model, (and Bjork doesn't look this young anymore).

Clyde said...

Is she one of the statistically significant group of Icelanders who believe in elves? Just askin'.

Scott M said...

She isn't aging. SHE'S A WITCH!

Paul said...

"I love it when artists make dopey statements that assume an advantage in their own smarts. Only she can see the invidious hypnotism of Commercial TV and she just has to warn us. A Poet told her so, it must be Truth."

You're the dopey one. She doesn't say that at all.

Actually if you watch the whole thing she admits to being mislead by the poet and learned the "scientific" truth about TV from a Danish book. To me her charm, beyond her very soft femininity (so rare in the USA), is her open candor about having been naively mislead by the poet.

elkh1 said...

JackOfVA said...
"And, the little people that live in the printed circuit board city inside your TV set can look back through the screen at you."

The little people are not so little anymore. Now they put eyes and ears in your TVs, in your computers, in your telephones, and watch you day and night. The not so little people call themselves the NSA, we call them Big Bro'.

T J Sawyer said...

This is the greatest argument ever made for not reading fiction until one has finished all the non-fiction.

rehajm said...

She does appear to be quite young when this was made. I'm sure much of the beauty of her observations were lost in translation- must be beautiful in Icelandic..

Fun activity- Go back and rewatch the video carefully- you might be able to spot the boom mike briefly dipping into frame.

jacksonjay said...

Rewatch in an effort to catch the cameo appearance of a boom mike? Fun?

Joe said...

Who cares what's she's saying? she's so damn cute.

Amexpat said...

Actually if you watch the whole thing she admits to being mislead by the poet and learned the "scientific" truth about TV from a Danish book

I doubt that she was actually mislead. This looks to me like some sort of performance art where she's playing a naive waif who was mislead by a poet. She's makes her point more strongly that way.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, the key is the warning at the end. I tried to push you to see that with the post title.

Nice paradox since she too is a poet.

gerry said...

Good lord.

Does "Bj" sound like a "D"?

Sigivald said...

She makes interesting music, but she's - figuratively, at least - mad as a hatter.

Clyde: Believe in elves? She is one!

Farmer said...

Bjork is great. So is this video. I recall seeing it in, I think, the late 90s. Her stuff doesn't always hit the mark but she's very adventurous artistically without being at all pretentious. She could have made plenty of money by copying her first album over and over but her music just got more ambitious, and interesting.

traditionalguy said...

Maybe Black and white was safe. It's the colorizing that makes us mesmerized...Ted Turner figured that one out.

Now we have our dueling screens like Dueling Banjos with one in our lap and one on the stand.

The only antidote is dogs in videos. They are real.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

She has one of those faces where I can't tell if she's really cute/hot or odd looking. Or both in combination.

jr565 said...

"Your head is very busy all the time to calculate and put it all together into one picture. And then because you're so busy doing that, you don't watch very carefully what the program you are watching is really about. So you become hypnotized. So all that's on TV, it just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging it's right or not."


Is she describing tv or the dating process?

EMD said...

She's insane. And I am happy/okay with that.

Fritz said...

"She's insane. And I am happy/okay with that. "

At least give her credit for some skepticism, even if her reasoning isn't entirely sound.

Fritz said...

"Yeah, the key is the warning at the end. I tried to push you to see that with the post title.

Nice paradox since she too is a poet."

Who better to warn that poets lie too?

TMink said...

I heard the same basic point made about digital audio. The music is sliced into millions of tiny slices and played back and the brain struggles to repair the surgery.

Trey

Paul said...

"I doubt that she was actually mislead. This looks to me like some sort of performance art where she's playing a naive waif who was mislead by a poet. She's makes her point more strongly that way."

I think you're over-thinking this. I don't believe she was making up the part about getting headaches from worrying about the imagined nefarious effects of watching TV.

However over-thinking is in vogue here, in fact the blogress (is this a word?) is a terminal over-thinker, so you have plenty of company.

Paul said...

"I heard the same basic point made about digital audio. The music is sliced into millions of tiny slices and played back and the brain struggles to repair the surgery.

Trey"

Don't believe everything you hear!

Those "slices" are many thousands per second and much too fine a resolution to be perceived as anything but a smooth flow of sonic information. So sit back and enjoy your favorite music on a CD and don't worry.

That being said magnetic tape is still used sometimes for its "fatness" and warmth, but I believe that is more a property of a low frequency bump that the tape heads impart.

n.n said...

It's an object and an image. The object is non-negotiable and absolute. The image is subject to interpretation and manipulation. Perceptions will vary.

William said...

A cute girl can say the most radical nonsense and hold you spellbound. TV's have nowhere near the hypnotic power of cute girls.

Jason said...

I am a great admirer of hers and have been since the late 80s, in the Sugarcubes days. She was actually a well-known singer in Iceland as a teenager before that.

She is a truly unique and creative singer. There's no one who sings even remotely like her. I think some things translate oddly into English from Icelandic, and I think she just goes with it and has fun with it.

I also see the beauty in her description of this TV. I could see someone like e.e. cummings come up with something like it. There's a long tradition in poetry of this kind of deconstruction and inversion. If she's dumb, I'm sure she's dorking all the way to the bank.

The song "Birthday," written from the perspective of a five year old victim of sexual molestation, is fucking brilliant.

I'll defend Bjork all day long and twice on sunday.

But not people who give their daughters names like Bjork. They can go to hell.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fritz said...

"She has one of those faces where I can't tell if she's really cute/hot or odd looking. Or both in combination. "

A possible explanation:

http://freedomshammer.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/anthropologist-held-hostage-by-elves-for-7-years/

TMink said...

Thanks Paul, I do listen to a lot of digital music and so far so good! Now I have found that ripping my vinyl at 24 bits and higher than cd res does make it sound more like the analog does, but I even listen to mp3s at work and in the car. So far, no head explosions!

Trey

Amexpat said...

I think you're over-thinking this.

It didn't take much thought to see what was going on.

EMD said...

Thanks Paul, I do listen to a lot of digital music and so far so good! Now I have found that ripping my vinyl at 24 bits and higher than cd res does make it sound more like the analog does, but I even listen to mp3s at work and in the car. So far, no head explosions!

Vinyl has the best sound.

Saint Croix said...

Bjork can say whatever she wants, and I'll still love her. Because when she was in Communist China she was all, "Tibet! Tibet!" Little itty bitty girl from Iceland and she told a whole country--and not a nice country--to go screw.

She rocks.

Mitch H. said...

Shelley claimed that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world, and he wasn't wrong - they're likewise corrupt, hypocritical, mendacious, self-serving and not to be trusted with anything that can be picked up and carried to the nearest pawnshop.

Paul said...

"Vinyl has the best sound."

Well...I know what you mean, but nothing compares to hearing a master two track tape through high end studio monitors.

But yes, in general vinyl does sound better than CDs do, albeit noisier.

elante arora said...

Thanks for sharing this post.This is nice digital tv
having good quality.According to me it is a good product having efficient output.

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