Brian Eno’s ’77 Million Paintings’

I’ve been hooked on watching Brian Eno’s latest visual music installation, 77 Million Paintings, quite a lot lately. Since the actual installation is still making its way through museums and galleries across the globe, I’ve been enjoying the PC/Mac DVD software version that lets you experience the installation on your computer’s monitor.

I’ve always been fond of Eno’s generative work (Ambient 1, Neroli, Thursday Afternoon) and the art generated by 77 Million Paintings is no exception. I love the concept of self-generating music that never ends. The songs on albums like Ambient 1: Music for Airports are but fractions of the actual music created during those sessions.

One of the things that is interesting in this, and about generative work in general, is that the artist doesn’t actually know exactly what the result is going to be.

I really think Eno missed a golden opportunity with this software though. Instead of creating a stand-alone art program, he could have created an open software system for creating generative paintings in addition to the stand-alone program. He could have opened up the basic rule sets and image choices, letting users create their own paintings or share ‘sets’ of paintings over the internet. I’m sure the basic functionality could be designed in Flash using PNG transparencies and various overlay effects. I would love to see an open project for software like this develop on the web.

Brian Eno – 77 Million Paintings

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