California State University, Long Beach is currently presenting Brian Eno: 77 Million Paintings in its University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd. (West Wing, Horn Center) through Dec. 13.
Using sophisticated computer software and audio boom boxes, this project features constantly changing images and musical compositions which challenge the notion that the artist must be in control. Eno’s input simply sets the trajectory for the work to evolve into patterns that have the potential for surprising him as well as the audience. With carefully designed lighting, relaxed seating, and strategically placed speakers, viewers enjoy an experience that is continuously evolving.
The exhibition consists of a wall of 12 monitors (of varying dimensions) that reflect the parameters Eno has programmed into several computers. The images slowly transform into a virtually endless series of visual configurations.
Seating in the gallery allows viewers to comfortably enjoy the “paintings” for any length of time. Because the black carpeting and dark walls block out available lighting, specially designed lights guide viewers through the galleries. With large cones made of Vermiculite and suspended trunks of silver birch trees providing illumination, gallery audiences can walk freely through the space and choose to view the monitors or sit in the audio room where a new music composition by Eno will be playing.
Eno was a member of the 1970s glam-rock band Roxy Music who then pursued a solo career in electronic music. In 1994 Microsoft corporation designers commissioned Eno to compose music for the Windows 95 project, resulting in the six-second start-up music-sound of the Windows 95 operating system.
The museum’s hours are: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, noon–5pm; Thursdays noon–8pm; Saturdays and Sundays, noon–5pm. Admission is $4 for the general public.