Björk’s Biophilia : A Musical Introduction to Feminist New Materialism
Marek Susdorf is a Polish writer who currently pursues a research master in Gender Studies at Utrecht University. In addition, Susdorf is a postgraduate of Gender Studies at the IBL PAN in Warsaw, Poland. For many years, he has been working for a Polish director Marta Górnicka as her assistant.
This paper looks at Biophilia, created by Björk (2011), the Icelandic singer, musician and actress. This multidimensional project, comprising a music album, newly-designed instruments, an educational programme and digital interactive applications, is focused on its title theme, namely, the love of life, or correctly said, the love of zoe, which I will prove in the course of this article. Taking the project as my point of departure, I will present the basic structure of feminist new materialist ontology and methodology. In particular, I would like to investigate the problematic conceptual, as well as physical, relationship between the human (both andro- and anthropocentric) subject and his non-human other. I will try to locate my reflections within the feminist new materialist and posthumanist frameworks and analyse the way in which the anthropocentric and phallogocentric human has been trying to subordinate, symbolically and physically, the rest of the planet. My special focus here is the political foundations of the myth of human exceptionality, which has been utilised to subjugate, colonise and exploit what we tend to call ‘nature’. This research draws mostly upon the work of Donna Haraway, Karen Barad and Rosi Braidotti. Following Haraway’s plea to ‘make kin, not babies’ (Haraway, 2015), I will show how Björk has managed to create a plane whereon both human and non-human worlds may meet and participate in imagining new artistic, symbolic and physical assemblages.