Björk and Spike Jonze's Long-Lost Day at the Chateau

Björk and Spike Jonze's Long-Lost Day at the Chateau

Feb 16, 2024

Yesterday, WeTransfer announced The Day I Met Björk, an exhibition and a free, downloadable zine of unseen photographs of Björk by Spike Jonze, curated by Opening Ceremony founder Humberto Leon.

Jonze, who directed the video in 1995 for Björk’s big band wallop “It’s Oh So Quiet” produced an early masterpiece in his and the Icelandic superstar’s oeuvre. The video, a fever dream featuring Björk tap dancing in a slate of sunny SoCal locations, has all the hallmarks of both artists’ genius: Jonze’s surreal sensibilities, Björk’s chaotic playfulness and both of their fearless sense of self-expression.

Once thought to be the duo’s only creative collaboration, the video was actually their second. Before they shot the music video, the now-closed Detour Magazine asked Jonze if he wanted to shoot photographs to accompany their interview with the rising singer. “So the day she got in town, I went to the Chateau Marmont, where she was staying,” remembers Jonze while in conversation with Leon. “Before [meeting], I thought she [was] sort of mythical ... She’s this mystery from another dimension or something. And then as soon as I met her, I was like, ‘Oh no, she’s just this awesome Icelandic girl from a punk band.’”

That free, punk sensibility infused Jonze and Bjork’s shoot at the Chateau. Flopping around the chic hotel in her favorite orange, posing playfully with a blanket wrapped around her face, floating ethereally in the pool, interpretive dancing in a green-tiled bathroom. “It’s very easy to shoot photos of someone when they’re compelling, when they’re imaginative, when they lack any self-consciousness and when they’re as singular and original as her,” reflects Jonze.

Other than six now-iconic photos that were published in Detour, the rest of the shots from this seminal moment have sat collecting dust in Jonze’s archive. That is until Leon, Jonze’s close friend and often creative partner, “[helped] Spike reorganize his archive and came across these incredible Björk outtakes.” After opening his Los Angeles cafe, Arroz and Fun, Leon thought “it would be awesome to do an exhibition [at the cafe] with [Jonze], playing with the idea of what café art could be. [Jonze’s] response was, ‘Lets do it on Björk and let’s do a ‘Surprise Exhibition.’”

Today, you can finally see those stunning photos. The limited-edition zine, which includes contact sheets and a conversation between Jonze and Leon, is available to download now globally for free via WeTransfer. And limited physical copies are available at the exhibition, at Arroz and Fun.

Photography: Spike Jonze