July 5, 2007 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings video installation has been shown in Venice, Milan and (last week) San Francisco, but you can have the experience right in your own living room with his new(ish) DVD or on Second Life. “The painting is generated from handmade slides that are randomly combined by the computer…. The selection of elements and their duration in the piece are arbitrarily chosen, forming a virtually infinite number of variations… Millions of Brian Eno originals will be created and then disappear only to be replaced by millions more.” (Eno's generative programming has been previously mentioned in this space.)
posted by GrammarMoses (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been a big Eno fan for close to 25 years, but I just can't get excited about this project.
posted by davebush at 8:49 AM on July 5, 2007

Shades of Queneau's Cent mille milliards de poèmes (which I'm sure Eno is familiar with).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2007

If they're anything like his music, I'll pass.
posted by rocket88 at 9:05 AM on July 5, 2007

He once did this art project where he had these different three-dimensional objects placed on top of upward facing monitors. Then he would have different color patterns and shapes playing on the monitor, lighting up the shapes.

It would be a cool way to create ambient lighting in a room if you had a PC that was too old to do much else with.

I heard him give a talk where he said he was living a very typical boring life growing up in some boring part of England, when he heard this music from some American base unlike anything he'd ever been exposed to (I think it was pre-rock) and it was such a shock that it changed him. He started his own musical experimentation, which lead to his unusual creative musical (and now art) career.
posted by eye of newt at 9:13 AM on July 5, 2007

Congratulations, he invented the screensaver.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on July 5, 2007

I have the DVD, I was underwhelmed. I love Eno's earlier work but he seems to be in a rut, for about the last twenty years or so. I look to Eno for something new and experimental not for more of the same. He nailed down some key concepts in ambient music in the 70s/80s but hasn't really shifted gears since.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:58 AM on July 5, 2007

Wow. Tough room.
posted by psmealey at 10:31 AM on July 5, 2007

No doubt we'll soon be able to view this in upscale dentists' waiting rooms everywhere.

Next up: Brian Eno repeatedly spills a sack of coins on the ground. Amazingly, with each spill he will create a different and likely unique pattern of heads and tails!

"Millions of Brian Eno originals will be created and then disappear only to be replaced by millions more."

Following that Brian Eno tunes his telly to a channel no one's broadcasting on, creating unique white noise "portraits". You'll never be able to guess which of any of 64 shades of gray any particular pixel will be!

Art without a hint of creativity, it's so, what's the word? Soporific! Like this post!
posted by orthogonality at 10:54 AM on July 5, 2007

Hopefully he will extend this technology to Metafilter posts very soon.
posted by GuyZero at 10:56 AM on July 5, 2007

Brian Eno has certainly done cool things, but going to see this installation last week was a total waste of time.

Um, and please don't call them "paintings", Brian. Thanks. Even the people that do visuals for chill rooms aren't that pretentious.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:19 AM on July 5, 2007

Isn't art all about making concious decisions about which elements to combine & how to combine them?

Nah... Stuff them in a database, hit the randomise button, watch the cash come in. Call me a cynic but this makes Tracey Emin look like a past master. Meh.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2007

we went to see this in sf on saturday. it was too crowded at first but after dinner/drinks, we came back around 1:30 AM and the room had cleared out considerably. it was fun to lie there watching the patterns change.

but, even though i'm a big fan of eno's thoughts & work, i do think this piece is sort of underwhelming. cos yeah... it's basically a screensaver, albeit projected on a very nice screen!
posted by jcruelty at 12:58 PM on July 5, 2007

Millions of Brian Eno originals will be created and then disappear only to be replaced by millions more.

So it's like there's one born every minute, huh? Funny...that reminds me of something...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:27 PM on July 5, 2007

I have the DVD and saw his video installation San Francisco.

You have to be willing to slow down a bit before you can enjoy 77 Million Paintings. It isn't something that will appeal to the information starved, fast paced part of your brain.

I actually really like the DVD, it's the first thing that has made me want to buy a large LCD display.
posted by jpf at 2:02 PM on July 5, 2007

Thanks for that link, Lentrohamsanin. It's amazing how hard the brain will try to make meaning out of something random.
posted by GrammarMoses at 2:04 PM on July 5, 2007

Each of my farts are unique and experienced by those in proximity freshly anew.
posted by xmutex at 2:10 PM on July 5, 2007

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