“BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR, elfin pop savant and, with the recent release of her multimedia project Biophilia, Iceland’s leading iPad bore, may be a perky charmer, but her team is as chilly as their employer’s home. Asking this aloof trio whether photography was permitted at the singer-songwriter’s Thursday afternoon Armory Show Open Forum Panel with performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson (part of a slew of Scandinavian-focused talks at the fair), I received the decision, delivered with relish: “You know what? No.” Video was verboten too, as were interviews, recording, eating, drinking, impertinence… Oh, and if you didn’t have a white wristband, forget about getting in anyway.
Once inside, of course, everyone snapped blithely away as Björk, Kjartansson, and moderator Markús Thór Andrésson chatted among themselves onstage. The clean-cut guys wore sensible jackets; our heroine rocked a dark red velvet dress with mystic amulet and lime-green veil. In other words: business as usual. The topic was “accumulation and regeneration,” to which a jovially improvising Andrésson added “interaction and repetition and…united nations” before exhorting the assembled to “be in the here and now!” Kicking off by reflecting on her recent experience of performing in a format closer to a theatrical residency than a concert, Björk, rolling her rs magnificently, mourned “the old rrrrrock-’n’-rrrrroller in me” but expressed appreciation for new and more varied audience reactions (perhaps not such a surprising effect when shifting venues from Roseland to the New York Hall of Science).”