Michel Gondry doesn’t own an iPad, and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be picking one up anytime soon.
"It’s the kind of technology that freaks me out," says the 48-year-old French director, who stylistically prefers molding household objects like the moving Legos in the White Stripes' “Fell in Love With a Girl” music video and the dancing appliances in Kanye West's “Heard 'Em Say” clip. “I need to be more in the physical world.”
Even if Björk's “Biophilia” turned into an app suite after originally being considered as a 3-D movie directed by Gondry, he couldn't say “no” when she asked the director, who had previously helmed landmark clips for singles like “Human Behaviour” and “Bachelorette,” to direct the video for the new album's first single, “Crystalline.” Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Green Hornet”) contrasted the high-concept creation of “Biophilia” with a handmade clip — which will be unveiled this Tuesday (July 26) — in which gold meteorites fill in moon craters as Björk's image is projected onto a spinning metallic disk above the surface.
"We shot it frame by frame, and we shot it by recranking the camera and re-exposing the film many times," Gondry says. "I decided for this that the shower of meteorite would hit the ground and produce a sound . . . The idea that a beam of light can have the impact to make these things move is something that intrigued me. Later on, they create some ripples-like rain. At the third verse, they create bubbles in which the metallic objects appear. All of those are the result of multiple conversations with [Björk] that were going in many directions."
Gondry has known Björk for two decades and says that, out of all the artists he directs, she’s by far the most collaborative. “Overall, her vision of herself — her aesthetics and self-innovation — have opened by eyes from where I was when I started,” says Gondry. He hopes that their next project will continue that chemistry, but with reversed roles for the pair.
"Right now I want to try and convince her to do the score of my next movie," he says. "There is nothing official, but it would be nice to do it the other way around: She makes the music for the image I make."
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“Biophilia’s songs are some of the best Björk has written for a long time. “Virus” was liquid folk music, the drummer playing handheld drums that sounded like maracas crossed with a bell. “Solstice” was a sweet lullaby, sung in the tender style of a mother explaining day and night to a child.”—FT.com