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Bjork wearing a costume

“You Shouldn’t Let poets Lie to You” (on the Day Björk Deconstructed TV)


Neither television or poets tell the truth. Björk discovered this and tells us.

For various reasons of our nature (and/or our artifice), for more than half a century television has been consecrated as a totem. That little box has ended up forging a kind of collective adoration around itself, setting itself up as a center of gatherings and a vehicle of cultural autocracy.

But beyond the mental delights or ideological distaste that it can provoke in each of us, we must admit that television is a surprising object. If we contrast its small dimensions with its almost infinite potential to influence the collective mind, then we must at least assume that television consummates an act of electronic trickery.

The above reflection could be equated with a video in which the talented and always strange Icelandic musician Björk literally deconstructs television. Her attitude during this exercise reminds us of the primitive mysticism from which all religions no doubt emerged and which assigned television its fantastical nature – as if it were an intriguing glitch in the natural order of things.

"But now I am curious. I have switched the TV off and now I want to see how it operates, how it manages to put me in all these weird situations. So… now is the time."

Björk then takes the television set apart and finds an interesting network of microcircuits:

"This looks like a city. Like a little model of a city. The houses, the streets. These wires really take care of all the electrons when they come through here. They are powerful enough to get all the way through here. I read that in a Danish book this morning.

"Then the physical deconstruction of the television set acquires ontological tones thanks to Björk’s both infantile and lucid reflections:

"This beautiful television has put me, like I said before, in all sorts of situations. I remember being very scared of it because an Icelandic poet told me that, unlike in the cinema where the thing that throws the picture just sends lights onto the screen, but this is different, this is millions and millions of little screens that send light onto you, some sort of electrical light, I’m not really sure, but because there are so many of them, and you are watching so many frames when you are watching TV, you are very busy all the time to put it all together into one picture, and because you are so busy doing that you became hypnotized, and all that is on TV just goes directly into your brain and you stop judging whether it is right or not, and you just swallow and swallow. This is what an Icelandic poet told me. And it made me so scared I used to get headaches every time I watched TV. And then, when I found my Danish book about television, I stopped being afraid because I read the truth, the scientific truth, and that’s much better."

Finally our peculiar telenaut concludes her intervention with a little sigh of wisdom:

You shouldn’t let poets lie to you.

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