In 1984, the naturalist Edward O. Wilson argued that humans are biologically driven to seek connections with other life-forms. Wilson’s concept, which he called “biophilia,” inspired this app, which is simultaneously a music album, a collection of sixteen sound-and-video games, and an interactive performance. Players are invited to contribute to the work by manipulating the music that accompanies songs by the Icelandic musician Björk. As a collaboration among artists, musicians, designers, programmers, and poets—as well as players–Biophilia demonstrates that seeking out interaction with each other is natural and expected.
Gallery label from Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design, September 10, 2022–July 16, 2023
Biophilia—a hybrid software application (app) and music album with interactive graphics, animations, and musical scoring—reflects Björk’s interest in a collaborative process that in this case not only included other artists, designers, engineers, and musicians, but also invites engagement from the people that download and play the app/album. Upon opening the program, players encounter a galaxy punctuated with ten songs represented by bright, colorful stars. Touching a star launches a mini- app—a smaller world within the larger Biophilia galaxy—in which one may both listen to and contribute to a song. The interactive graphics and animations of the mini-apps relate directly to the theme of each song.
Biophilia means, in its most literal sense, an attraction towards all that is alive and vital in the natural world of plants, animals, and the wider ecosystem. Designing an app as an integral part of the album experience, Björk and her many collaborators on this project have made the connection between nature and the natural, fluid place that technology holds in contemporary life.
Gallery label from This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good, February 14, 2015–January 31, 2016