Innovation in music. 8. Björk’s Biophilia

… and what she is doing for the environment.

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life“. The term “biophilia” literally means “love of life or living systems.” It was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. Wilson uses the term in the same sense when he suggests that biophilia describes “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life” (source: Wikipedia).

2015_06_10-01 Biophilia project

The Biophilia Educational Project is a large-scale pilot project that builds on the participation of academics, scientists, artists, teachers and students at all academic levels. It is based around creativity as a teaching and research tool, where music, technology and the natural sciences are linked together in an innovative way. The project presents an example of dynamic collaboration between different areas in society, such as the education system, cultural institutions, science and research institutes. It creates a platform for dialogue and debate which encourages both personal and social development, thereby contributing to a sustainable society where new approaches are actively explored.
The project was originally developed by Björk Guðmundsdóttir, the City of Reykjavík and the University of Iceland, in connection with the release of Björk’s 2011 album Biophilia.

Reykjavík

Reykjavík

The Biophilia Educational Project aims to inspire children to explore their own creativity, while learning about music, nature and science through new technologies. The project has thus far mainly been aimed at children aged 10-12 years, and the programme is based on Björk’s Biophilia app suite of music and interactive, educational artefacts. Students learn through hands-on participation, composition and collaboration. Participants acquire the skills to develop their musical imagination, to push their creative boundaries and make music in an impulsive and responsive way, inspired by the structures and phenomena of the natural world.

“Dark matter” – Sigur Rós performing Ólsen Ólsen (in Vonlenska)

The Biophilia Educational project has the potential to bring arts experience to children who might otherwise not have access to it. The method tries to change the traditional way of teaching. It is based on the fundamental idea that it is best for children to start practising art with a creative process, where music, science and technology are linked in a new way.

Teachers, researchers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and other participants work across disciplines and school classes, subjects, science and art forms to introduce creativity as an educational method and, simultaneously, to stimulate greater environmental awareness in pupils and students.

Each app has its own theme (in connection with a corresponding song) and combines a natural element with a musicological feature. The layers of content in each feature include: an interactive game based on the song’s scientific and musical subject matter; a musical animation of the song; an animated score; lyrics; and an academic essay.

2015_06_10-03 Björk Biophilia

Resources:

2015_06_10-06 Biophilia guideTeaching guidelines

Biophilia sparks children’s interest in nature, science and music (Green growth web magazine, April 2015)

Iceland’s Björk is transforming environmental education in Europe (Climate-KIC  News)

Bjork’s Biophilia on Wired2015_06_10-05 Björk Wired

 

 

Björk: Biophilia | Solstice app tutorial

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