“‘Are you enjoying Queens?’ Björk asked with an exultant squeal during the February 3rd opening of her Biophilia residency at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows. It was a peculiar question during a performance set in an alternate universe of music, technology and primordial emotions, in a room that looked nothing like the neighborhood outside. The museum’s Great Hall is an eerie windowless space with a cathedral-high ceiling and irregularly curved walls that suggest convulsive ripples in time and space.
But the Icelandic singer’s choice of setting was effective and moving, even more immersive than the Biophilia show I saw in Reykjavik last fall. Surrounded by a future-now production of exotic invented instruments (the gravity harp, a gameleste) triggered with iPad sorcery, Björk created a dazzling compact world of heated passions and excited science heightened by the tall black space overhead and an outer ring of darkness that seemed to gently press the in-the-round audience (under 700) against the tiny stage, almost into the show. Björk often sang from inside a circle of gold satin, blue sequins and gleaming blonde hair formed by the Graduale Nobili, her 24-piece Icelandic female choir. It was a shimmering cocoon unto itself.”
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