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Conceptual work - Thoughts Focus: Brain Eno

" A very interesting thing happens to your brain, which is that any information which is common after several repetitions you cease to hear. you reject the common information rather if you gaze at something for to long time you'll cease to really see it. you'll see any aspect of it's changing, but the static elements yo won't see that amount of material there is extremely limited but the amount of activity it triggers in you is very rich and complex" -Brain Eno

Brain Eno is an English musician,producer, and visual artist. He is best known for pioneering ambient music to the public as well as his contributions to rock and pop music. Once a student of painting and experimental music, Eno would then translate these elements together into more of visual work. Elements from painting and music such as time, repetition and composition where the main key ingredients that would then serve Eno later in time when it came to using light. Taking queues from painters and writers that painted along with music sharing concerns about composition and harmonic ratios, Eno took alot of these references from many various artist as well as scientists such as Camille Mauclair's essay "Musical paintings and the fusions of the arts" as well as Kandinsky interest in synesthesia.

" Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eys are hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. the artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposely, to cause vibrations in the soul" Kandinsky

Taking these elements together Eno began his journey from painting with paint on to painting with light, the birth of visual musical expressionism and in the mid 1960s it was the perfect environment with the blossoming time of hybridized theatrical, musical and sculptural expressions. " I want to encourage people to stay in one place for a while"

He began to experiment with video as a way of playing with perceptual phenomena such as light, scale, and mass. configuring light, taking video to Manhattan's city-scape and it's various light qualities. Taking into consideration various elements of art art form 10% music with a bit of architecture, 12% drawing and 30% painting. Thinking how does that experience feel like within the space or gazing at the art piece rising questions like how does it function? how does all these elements interact with each other?

Shifting the narrative a bit Eno saw the TV as an apparatus to control color, form, and the density of light, using it mainly as a light source and hacking all it's limited capabilities to show how limitless it can become. Seeing it as a very controllable light source Eno could precisely make movement and behavior of several million points of colored light. Laying the TV on it's back with attaching some makeshift lens, Eno then attached tubes on top to make the light project upwards into the space. Now suddenly a boxy TV turned into a light sculpture, transfixing viewers to this new experience of light as a physical presence. Eno named these works as Crystals, each had s distinct color field video with up to four concentric fields of colors paired with foam core structures mapped to the shape. All the sculptures had all different running times so they weren't all in sync, along with that Eno placed four musical mix-downs onto cassette leaving silence at the end of each, then a random cut of silence so that each tape had a different length. This sort of out of sync recordings created an auditory asynchronous experience that paralleled the visual one. It seems to be one of those pieces where your brain starts to habituate so that you cease to see one solid color or hear any common notes, all you sense is a clashing of colors and sounds.

"Constantly refining his ideas, and embracing technology, interwoven as it is with creativity, Eno continued to make grander light installations, culminating in ’77 Million Paintings’ a projection covering The Sydney Opera House in 2009, reaching a point “where my lightwork had finally caught up with Kandinsky”."


  • “Paul Stolper Is Pleased to Announce the Launch of Brian Eno's Book 'Light Music'.” Welcome to the Official Brian Eno Web Store,

  • Scoates, Christopher, and Roy Ascott. Brian Eno: Visual Music. Chronicle Books, 2019.


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