Michel Gondry



Declare Independence


Le tournage a eu lieu début octobre 2007 à New York.

Björk à propos du clip

Pitchfork : Let’s talk about "Declare Independence". The song has a political element to it, but it’s also very broad. I know you’ve talked about that before— how it’s about freedom and justice for everyone, that it’s a personal as well as political message. But in the video, you and director Michel Gondry use a lot of military-industrial imagery. Were you nervous about how that might potentially narrow the scope of the song ?

Björk : The military thing was Michel’s idea. I was quite intrigued by using the costumes that we had been using live ; they’re very colorful, very happy. But for him, because of the whole thing with the string being the only part that’s in color, the costumes couldn’t scream for attention. So the military thing was something that we thought might help [the performers] blend into the background.

Pitchfork : Like camouflage.

Björk : Yeah, that was kind of the idea. When I spoke to Michel, it was important to me that it was a live performance. And it was important to me that there wasn’t a hierarchy. That everyone be kind of equal. I never see myself in a position of controller, or as someone with authority, even though I happen to be on stage. So that was something I was quite sensitive about. That [the other performers] would be giving me as much energy as I was giving them, that it was an equal thing.

Pitchfork : Well, quite literally, with the string, there’s an amazing exchange of energy.

Björk : That was one of the reasons we were all wearing the same thing. We’re supposed to be on the same level. If I was wearing some crazy colored dress it wouldn’t be balanced. But maybe— I haven’t really thought about this— but maybe you’re right, maybe it comes across as too military. It wasn’t military, it was more just about trying to make everybody equal. Having the clothes be neutral. I think we were more excited about the flags on everybody’s arms.

Pitchfork : What is the significance of the flags ?

Björk : It’s Greenland’s flag and the Faroe Islands’ flag. Iceland became independent from Denmark 60 years ago. We were a colony for 600 years, and we were treated really badly, as all colonies are. And Greenland and the Faroe Islands are still part of Denmark. The song was partly written to those countries. In Iceland’s newspapers, there’s always some talk about the Faroe Islands and Greenland wanting independence, and Greenland seemed close, but then they found a lot of oil, and Denmark doesn’t want to let that go. If you were to go into a local bar and ask about Greenland and the Faroe Islands, people get very feisty. People are very supportive of Greenland and the Faroe Islands getting independence. I think that Greenland and the Faroe Islands have looked a lot to Iceland as an inspiration, the way we set up our bank systems, the way we became more and more independent.

And I thought it was hysterical to say to your friend who is having a lot of problems with his girlfriend, to just say ’Declare independence and raise your own flag.’ Maybe it’s just my silly sense of humor. But it’s definitely written to Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

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  • Michel Gondry