World-famous Icelandic recording artist Björk is to help children in New York City learn about music and science as part of an innovative new project. The elf-like singer has teamed up with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the New York Public Library (NYPL) to create an interactive educational programme based and her latest album Biophilia and its accompanying iPad app.
The track listing from the 2011 album has been turned into 10 “in-app experiences” that aim to teach children about music and science by exploring the relationships between nature, music, art and technology. The ideas behind the songs and the different musical features used are explored through devices such as an animated score, interactive games and musical animations.
“It’s not a bookish thing,” Bjork said when explaining about the programme she designed with interactive artist Scott Snibbe and a team of developers. “You cannot learn to make music … from a book. There are things you can only learn from books, but it’s also important to introduce the physical aspects. So for me, it was very important to make, somehow, music education that was physical.”
NYPL President Anthony W Marx, said, “The world of education is changing, and I am so proud that the library is involved in providing programming and supporting the tools that will allow young people to continue to learn in new, interactive, and exciting ways. The Biophilia app makes knowledge more accessible to children and inspires them to learn more – both key missions of the library, as well.”
Björk has also done similar projects with the New York Hall of Science in Queens, as well as in the UK and her native Iceland. The Biophilia app was named as one of the top five musical apps of 2011 by iTunes, while the New York Times described the album as “among the most creative, innovative and important new projects in popular culture.”
“Biophilia is at the forefront in the development of arts-based education and the development of a child’s creative thinking,” said Andrew Ackerman, CMOM’s executive director. “Its portability allows for learning to take place anywhere, at school, the library, and in a family setting at home. By leveraging the extensive network of the Center for Arts Education in combination with the NYPL, we will be able to reach thousands of children and teachers over the next six months.”