A Warrior Who Had to Fight with Love

“The title of the album, in fact,  indicates that music comes from a same direction: straight from my heart, because home is where the heart is”


Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk


A relationship with fellow musician Clifford Price (better known as Goldie) caused controversy for the singer, an American fan, offended by her dalliance with a black man, taped himself creating an acid bomb and sent it to her house before shooting himself in front of the camera. While the bomb, thankfully, never reached Bjork, she became extremely depressed and fled to Spain where she recorded her next album. The result, entitled Homogenic, was released in September 1997 and featured emotional, dark songs possessing sounds that had never been explored. So off the beaten path was the record that it failed to enjoy the commercial success that her last two efforts had. But it was her most personal record to-date.

The album was Björk’s first attempt to bridge the world of electronic music with more organic elements (including orchestral score and unusual applications of the human voice), and she approached Alexander McQueen to try to capture the album’s icy, otherworldly cool vibe in a cover image.“When I went to Alexander McQueen, I explained to him the person who wrote these songs — someone who was put into an impossible situation, so impossible that she had to become a warrior,” Bjork told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1998.“A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love.”

Though the cover appears to be a straight illustration, Bjork actually posed for the image, photographed by Nick Knight. “I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn’t walk easily,” she said. “I wanted to put all the emotion of the album into that image.”


A previous McQueen/Knight collaboration for a photo shoot clearly provided the basis idea for the imagery achieved


Björk’s vocals on Homogenic range from primitive sounding screams to a traditional singing method used by Icelandic choir men, a combination of speaking and singing as illustrated in the song Unravel. Björk wanted Homogenic to have a conceptual focus on her native Iceland. In an interview for Oor, Björk explained that “in Iceland, everything revolves around nature, 24 hours a day. Earthquakes, snowstorms, rain, ice, volcanic eruptions, geysers… Very elementary and uncontrollable. But at the other hand, Iceland is incredibly modern; everything is hi-tech. The number of people owning a computer is as high as nowhere else in the world. That contradiction is also on Homogenic. The electronic beats are the rhythm, the heartbeat. The violins create the old-fashioned atmosphere, the colouring.”


African Self-Hybridation

African Self-Hybridation: Ndebele Giraffe Woman of Ngumi Stock, Zimbabwe, With Euro-Parisian Woman, 2002


African Self-Hybridation: Pregnancy Akua Ba Acbouti Doll From Ghana With Face of Orlano Woman, 2003

African Self-Hybridation: Three-Headed Ogoni Mask, Nigeria, With Mutant Face of Franco-European Woman, 2002


African Self-Hybridation: Sande Mask of Sierra-Leone, 2003


African Self-Hybridation: Fang Initiation Group Mask, Gabon, With Face of Euro-Saint-Etienne Woman, 2003


African Self-Hybridation: Songye Secrecy Mask With Gloved Euro-Forezian Woman With Rollers, 2003


African Self-Hybridation: Mask of Nigerian Woman With Face of Euro-Parisian Woman, 2003


African Self-Hybridation: Half-White Half-Black Mbangu Mask With Face of Euro-Saint-Etienne Woman in Rollers, 2002


African Self-Hybridation: Ife Statuary With Face of Euro-Forezian Gloved Woman With Facio-Templed Bumps, 2000


African Self-Hybridation: Ekoi Janus Mask, Nigeria With Face of Euro-Forezian Woman, 2003


African Self-Hybridation: Mask of Kom Notable, Cameroon, With Face of Euro-Global Artist, 2002


African Self-Hybridation: Profile of Mangbetu Woman With Profile of Euro-Saint-Etienne Woman, 2000

Since 1994, ORLAN has been creating a digital photographic series titled Self-Hybridizations, where her face merges with past facial representations (masks, sculptures, paintings) of non-western civilizations. So far, three have been completed: Pre-Columbian, American-Indian and African.