What makes Björk and Jesse Kanda’s creative relationship tick?
‘Cloud-based computer file transfer service’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but WeTransfer is more than just that, having made the Internet a more beautiful place with its on-point curation of full-screen wallpapers from artists and brands around the world.
It may then surprise you less to learn that the Amsterdam and Los Angeles-based company is also a creative incubator, recently announcing a four-part documentary series with Pi Studios exploring what makes artistic partnerships tick. First up: the indelible Björk and visual artist Jesse Kanda.
The pair are frequent collaborators and best friends – their close rapport evident in the brilliantly bizarre art Kanda has realised for the Icelandic musician’s latest album, Utopia. (There is also possibly no moment more Björk, than Björk emerging from a glowing chrysalis in the Kanda-directed music video for Arisen My Senses, below, writhing slug-like creatures notwithstanding).
‘There’s so much more to music than just work,’ says Björk in the inaugural instalment of Work in Progress. ‘If I collaborate, then I want connections to be genuine, for them to be for real.’ Kanda adds: ‘Collaborations forces you to think about where to draw lines, and who you are and who they are.’ You’ll also be treated to some bonus early performance footage of a teenage Björk, who breaks down the Icelandic music scene and how every member of its small but perfectly formed community has their own aesthetic language.
‘With this series we wanted to look at how collaboration really works. We want to go beyond the standard behind-the-scenes, and tap into what creativity looks, sounds and feels like,’ says Jamal Dauda, WeTransfer global head of music. ‘We don’t claim to explain it, but we believe that by showing how creative minds see the worlds around them, and understand each other, we’ll window onto some of the magic and the mystery.’
WeTransfer’s editorial platform – rebranded and relaunched as WePresent at the end of January – has previously presented an online exhibition with Ryan McGinley, created an original podcast series with Gilles Peterson, and sent photographer Nadia Lee Cohen on a US road trip, among other unique commissions.