Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Robbie, Andrew. “Sampling Haraway, Hunting Björk: Locating a Cyborg Subjectivity.” Repercussions 10 (Spring 2007): 57-95.

Björk’s song and music video Hunter (from the album Homogenic, 1997) can be understood in terms of Donna Haraway’s theory of cyborg identity, particularly the ambiguity between the self as scientist and the self as hunter Haraway identifies. Hunter navigates the boundaries between human and nature as well as the known and unknown. The “hunter” subject can be seen in Björk’s use of the characteristic rhythmic pattern of Maurice Ravel’s Boléro throughout Hunter. Ravel often described Boléro in terms of factories and mechanical reproduction and privately acknowledged its sexual dimension. The intersection of sex, death, and mechanization has also been part of the discourse about Boléro. Although Björk describes the presence of the Boléro rhythm as an artifact of recording in Spain, she does discuss Ravel in terms of technology. The two-measure rhythmic pattern of Boléro can be read as a balance between control and compulsion. In Hunter, Björk represents the control side in the cello ostinato, an extension of the first measure of the Boléro pattern. Compulsion is presented in the snare drum’s accelerations into the downbeat, mirroring the second measure in effect. The gradual built-up of the snare over the cellos also suggests the urgency of a hunt reaching completion. In the music video, Björk’s movements only intermittently line up with the rhythmic ostinato. In total, the subject of Björk’s Hunter is a Harawayan cyborg, transcending binaries of gender, humanity, and technology.

Works: Björk Guðmundsdóttir: Hunter (78-84)

Sources: Maurice Ravel: Boléro (78-84)

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License