A Lyrical Response to Björk’s Guest-Edit

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Artist Wanda Orme presents an ode to some of the most important feminist thinkers of the age

For the latest issue of AnOther Magazine, we asked Björk to compile an anthology of texts that have inspired her. Drawing on the research undertaken for her show at The Shed, Björk’s Cornucopia, which premiered this month, the Icelandic artist gathered together the work of some of the most important post-feminist thinkers of the age and put her own determinedly maverick and truthful stamp on the collection. Björk’s agenda for hope and reconnection brimmed with imagery of femininity, nature, sex and protest – qualities that artist Wanda Orme confronts regularly in her work. For this online series we commissioned Orme to create unique responses to each text. Here, she devises a lyrical response to the enlivening and emboldening series of texts and the artworks that accompany them.

Gutting the fish

A song in three parts


Part One

This is not the way you gut a fish,
You have to be careful,
Were you not taught right?

Blood and guts everywhere
A dirty kitchen floor
This is not the way you gut a fish, No
Were you not taught right?

Part Two

Vermillion is an alchemical compound, it has the defect of darkening with time, as blood does. Gaudy splashes on Roman villas’ walls an ostentatious show of wealth, at one time more valuable than gold. Used by Indian women over centuries to mark their hands on walls before committing Sati, ritual self immolation on the death of their husbands.

The death of the good wife, to enact one’s own good-wife death. How to carve out the space for love and survive? Attempting the impossible without blindness, knowingly approaching the unknown – admitting the gulf, but trying anyway.

Part Three

Prayer. According to Simone Weil, “absolutely unmixed attention is prayer”. Words flock together striving to reach, give form, articulate across the space between. Reaching unconditionally, but not without hope. Nets cast out into darkness. Speaking the unspeakable, tenderness and violence in equal measure.

Words as action, working and reworking, as if language could make sense of feeling. Unmaking and making with voice. Experience ploughed back into the land. Newness. A cry of courage cast into the sky.