BJORK'S TRANSHUMANIST UTOPIA
Deciphering our fairycore mother's new post-apocalyptic show 'Cornucopia'— cringe Greta Thunberg collab et al
On Wednesday evening I slid into the opening of Bjork’s Cornucopia in Los Angeles, her newish show based on her 2017 album Utopia with Arca. Afterwards, my friend Matt Dell and I headed to a dingy Carl’s Junior and wrote this late-night report together over kundle-laced jalapeno poppers. Matt used to throw DIY shows in Los Angeles and now works in weed; I’m tickled to have him as Rave New World’s first guest writer.
Below, we discuss the post-apocalyptic politics of Bjork’s fairycore aesthetics, her trans-humanist vision of the future, and the cringey Greta Thunberg coda. Did you catch the show? Let us know what you think in the comments or Discord. (PS: so cute to meet some Discord folks at my ambient birthday rave last weekend! Thanks for the cookies.)
BJORK'S TRANSHUMANIST UTOPIA
By Matt Dell & Michelle Lhooq
Microbial swirls, mushroom stages, and a cameo from Greta Thunberg?
This is Bjork’s utopia.
Our techno-pagan queen has descended from the ethereal plane to LA this week to stage her sumptuous spectacle Cornucopia. After a brief hassle with security rifling through our bags and discarding Matt’s precious vape, we found our primo seats in the orchestra pit (thanks PR plugs!). Former masonic temple The Shrine’s stained glass tableaus, soaring onion domes, and arabesque embellishments transported us to a realm far from the neighborhood’s USC frat houses and fast-food chains.
The crowd was an amusing mix of queer club stans dressed for a rave, older Boomer heads, and a scattering of normie couples. A monotone announcement rang over the auditorium that no photography or video would be permitted during the performance, repeated three times to the room’s applause.
Evidently, there is no Instagram in Bjork’s utopia.
The first act of Cornucopia was one of the most sumptuous spectacles we’ve ever seen. Hyperreal projections of flowers and bulbous organic materials projected on a delicate fringe curtain that hung like undulating spaghetti, slowly peeling back to reveal Bjork in her biophiliac cosmos. Her look was giving Mothball Fantasy—a dress by designer Noir Kei Ninomiya of giant white poofs over a green spandex suit, a mask that recalled scarab wings, white platform boots.
Bjork is the OG of the fairycore aesthetic now trending on Pinterest, a visual style couched in fantasy and escapism. Bjork’s transhumanism has a more political angle, designed to break the binary of artificial and real. “The words nature and techno mean the same thing,” she once posted. “Depends on whether you’re looking from the past or future.”
Revolving vulva-like visuals on the dark gray stage scrim evoked a petri dish of microorganisms—a reminder of the ecstatic beauty of invisible worlds we cannot see. Meanwhile, Bjork’s tender vocals crooned “I care for you, care for you” on opener “The Gate” as a circle of flute-playing fairies surrounded her. Maybe unconditional affection is an antidote to the bleak blackpill of this “post”-pandemic reality; it certainly felt like balm. In an interview, Bjork described Utopia as being about “surviving after the pollution,” noting: “It's not post-apocalyptic. I would say it's post-ecstatic.”
Then came the first command.