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Brian Eno’s Long View of 77 Million Paintings

by Kevin Kelly on July 3rd, 02007

On Sunday, the Long Now Foundation hosted the closing show of the San Francisco installation of Brian Eno’s art peice, 77 Million Paintngs. About 400 Long Now charter members and their friends showed up.A very strange thing happened at the show, although Eno says it is a common reaction to other installations of this piece. The audience walks into the darkened room, where a huge screen glows with imperceptively changing visuals. The color is dazzling and very bright. Eno says this installation is the largest scale his 77 million paintings have ever been shown. When visitors walk in they immediately sit or lie down on the floor, and in total silence stay there for hours on end.They may not even move. Imagine an art viewing with no talking, no fidgeting, no jittering. Instead there are evolving paintings and evolving music which is moving glacially, slowing everyone down to its speed. It managed to take hi-rev San Francisco do-ers and movers and completely alter their internal clocks so they actually stopped and meditated. It really did feel like church.

Here are a few images I took, and in one case manipulated into an faux oil painting.

Eno Small Oil
Eno as an oil painting.

Sb Ghost
The ghost of Stewart Brand checks the screen before the event opens.

Eno Silouette Small
Eno sihloutte against projection screen.