Music, Bjork

Björk and Arca reveal their intimate letters to each other

Read @bjork's sixth i-D cover story, featuring her collaborator and chosen family @arca1000000

10/26/2020 6:26:00 PM

Read bjork's sixth i-D cover story, featuring her collaborator and chosen family arca1000000

For the 40th anniversary of i-D, the Icelandic icon and her scene disrupting Venezuelan sister have written each other deeply personal letters about family, their relationship and the song that was written about it.

You’re already in itHold fort for love foreverWatch me form new nestsWeave a matriarchal domeBuild a musical scaffolding between sleep and awake Day and nightBetween night and dayYou say I mirror people’s missions at themNow you mirror at me who I used to be

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What I gave to the world you’re giving back to me Hold fort for love foreverWhen I read the lyrics, I also see a lot of little hints in it (like I often put into my words) for example “we’re just carrying” is a reference to some queens I met who would say repeatedly, as a compliment: “she was carrying” about an amazing beat she made or a dance move or a film or if she built a house or whatever. And I felt it was such a feminine reference, about being the vessel. And the ambition is not about penetrating or shooting or who gives the hardest punch but the guitar solo of who was the best “carrier”. Who had the biggest bowl.

I also see in the lyrics how this song is about the mood of “musical scaffolding between day and night” and also how in trauma or in repair, the gap between falling asleep and the moment of waking up becomes a gigantic canyon it is hard to cross. And music can be such a helpful “carrier” there, if it is woven well. And this song is an attempt to be it.

I also am super mushy about the last verse. It is probably loaded with more meaning for me than the rest of the album combined. I’m kinda shy about spelling it out, but put simply: I love you so much and am forever grateful for your gift as a musician to me. I was at a time in my life where I felt monogamy was taken from me, and monogamy in music-making offered to me. Like a miracle. The timing of it was mind blowing.

Enthusiasms, BirchDress Valentino Haute Couture. Rings Staskauskas. 3D Nails Sojinails.From Arca To Björk:Dear Björk,Thank you so much for being up for doing this story with me, for this anniversary issue of i-D. It’s very symbolic. I remember one time we were disagreeing about something, bless us – conflict can be a sign there is a real relationship there. I remember well the time I mentioned, almost indignant, that I had been mothering you and I was mad at that fact. You responded, saying that ‘we mothered each other’ and I felt like a blindfold fell off my eyes and I saw you then as a sister, rather than holding on to the idea that I had to admire you. I think it helped me understand motherhood in a new way; in a chosen family way. I’ve had other maternal figures in my life who I now see as equals in their yin and yang. I remember that meal in Mexico City. It was in a very glam restaurant. I had fun that night.

I remember we discussed different kinds of leadership. Phallic leadership was about accomplishing a goal, cumming to consummate a creative project and carrying it through; carrying a vision and leading the team through direction and insistence, open stanced. Then there is another, more womb-like leadership, which is about creating an amniotic mood within which other beings feel safe to open up and express themselves in the project in a more collaborative way. The phallic one is more about the vision of an auteur-like figure, and the other is more about creating a hyper-fertile ecosystem within which creative gestation, collaborative fecundation is possible. I remember us agreeing that there was a time and a place for both along the process of creating.

In response to the part of your letter about certain genders having more or less capacity to carry or host, to visit and weave emotional thread, in virtue of family: I don’t see it as black and white. I don’t think I ever did, but now less than ever. With each passing day, I see the binary as something that can be useful as a descriptor but not necessarily having any essential import on the psychosexual life of an individual. The more that individual is conscious of their anima and animus, the less beholden they will be to thinking certain pleasures are off limits, less beholden to shame. With anima and animus, I borrow the Jungian terms for the idea that each man has both a man and a woman inside of them and that each woman has both a woman and man inside of them, too.

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In analysis, there’s the Oedipal complex, which is killing the father and making love to the mother; then there’s the Electra complex, which is killing the father and having sex with the mother. I propose a new archetype, one I have never heard before: the figure of Electra Rex, who kills both mother and father and has sex with herself/itself. I think Electra Rex can allow for a being that can cycle between submission and dominance, can penetrate and also be penetrated. She/it offers the possibility for interpenetration at the expense of a biological womb, her/its sexuality is her/its own. I wonder what family nucleus emerges around a mother with a penis, around a pregnant father, for instance. I mention this because this is already possible. We can all access Electra Rex and seek free pleasure within our mutant bodies, each of us, all of us transitioning from birth to death, inevitably.

Love in the face of the unknown, a.Dress Stephanie Uhart. Fishnet dress stylist’s studio. Thong and gloves Elisa Poppy. Latex thong (worn underneath) model’s own. Fishnet stockings Falke. Hair leg piece Slid Needham.Dress Stephanie Uhart. Fishnet dress stylist’s studio. Thong and gloves Elisa Poppy. Latex thong (worn underneath) model’s own. Fishnet stockings Falke. Hair leg piece Slid Needham.

Skirt Khanh Brice Nguyen x Agf Hydra. Garter and stockings Jonathan Aston.Flower (worn as headpiece) Schiaparelli. Pearl headpiece model’s own. Headpiece James Merry. Earrings Aurum.Dress Valentino Haute Couture. Headpiece James Merry. Rings Staskauskas. 3D Nails Sojinails.

Dress Valentino Haute Couture. Headpiece James Merry. Necklace Schiaparelli. Rings Staskauskas. 3D Nails Eichi Matsunaga and Tomoya Nakagawa.Dress Valentino Haute Couture. Rings Staskauskas. 3D Nails Sojinails.Creditsphotography Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

styling (Arca) Ai Kamoshita. styling (Björk) Edda GudmundsdottirHair and make-up (Arca) David Lopez at Esther Almansa using Fenty beauty. Hair (Björk) Katrín Sif Jónsdóttir using KEVIN.MURPHY.Make-up (Björk) Sunna Björk Erlingsdottir using Pat Mcgrath Labs Mothership VI. Nail technician (Björk) Lyn Nguyen.

Photography assistance Sinclair Jaspard Mandy, Manuel Girón, Ricard Estol, Vidar Logi, Rafn Rafnsson and Ólafur Magnússon.Digital set up and operations by Niccolo Pacilli at Dreamer Productions.Styling assistance (Arca) Lulu Bullock.Styling assistance (Björk) Diana Breckmann.

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Hair and make-up assistance (Arca) Beatriz Vargas.Nail technician assistance (Björk) Lam.Executive Production by Leonard Cuinet at April Production.Production (Arca) Mamma Team. Production (Bjork) Vidar Logi. Production coordination Elise Lebrun. Post Production DREAMER POST.

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