“Immersive” is possibly the most overused word in the art world, but in describing Stonemilker—a 360-degree virtual reality piece, also directed by Huang—it is justified. In contrast to Black Lake, which took a mammoth team and a year in production, Stonemilker was created quickly and effortlessly, and you can feel it. Sitting in the dark, perched on a backless swivel chair donning a VR headset, I quickly got over my anxiety about falling onto the floor before becoming totally absorbed in a very private performance. Björk looks directly into your eyes and sings soothingly, her words urging you to let go. It’s like a guided meditation that’s at once enveloping, visceral, and raw. You can almost feel the fabric of her dress blowing gently beside you. (I may have left a tear or two inside the VR headset.)
From there, the idea of immersion is taken to a whole new level with Mouth Mantra, where you’re transported to the inside of Björk’s mouth as she sings. Needless to say, some might find it a queasy experience, but her lyrics seem to offer explanation: “I always need to try something I haven’t done before.” Other VR works, Notget and Quicksand, meanwhile, send you out of the physical body entirely and into a futuristic cosmos, but with a similar narrative of rebirth. In it, a solitary feminine figure emerges from darkness with a powerful, light-emitting presence.