Although he is perhaps more famous for his musical output, Brian Eno has had a long career as a visual artist with his work exhibited in scores of galleries across the globe for more than 25 years. The Limited Edition 7... more »7 Million Paintings features an exclusive interview DVD in which Brian Eno discusses his creation of the 77 Million Paintings software, the next evolutionary stage of his exploration into light as an artist's medium and the aesthetic possibilities of "generative software." The bonus software disc creates a constantly evolving, slowly changing "light painting" on the screen of your computer or TV with a virtually infinite number of variations accompanied by the music of Brian Eno. This deluxe package also includes a 52-page book featuring an extensive essay by Eno.« less
"Just received my copy and I have been able to run it for awhile today. This a beautiful package, with a sturdy and gorgeously made color booklet, an interview DVD and the software disc. The software loads fully on the computer, so the disc can be removed during play. It runs full screen. I would have liked the option to run it in a window. Each time it starts, you get another initial painting, which then slowly changes. It runs smoothly and, like much of Eno's work, allows one to go about one's business with the thing on, if one wishes, or to sit and stare. The music also changes randomly and one never gets the same combination of visual and auditory components. I'm very much happy to have this. This is the most I've ever been tempted to run out and buy a big plasma monitor."
SDY | San Francisco, California United States | 10/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How can I give a fair review of this new release of Eno's until I've viewed all 77 million paintings? For that you would likely have to wait until the year 2250. So instead this is a first impression.
I was interested in this product of Eno's for several reasons, the foremost being that I've often found Brian Eno to present work from what seems a unique and elegant aesthetic sensibility. I also attended an exhibit of his visual work many years ago that involved something like gradually transmuting neo-Constructivist light-shapes in a series of darkened rooms. I found it quite beautiful and hoped that this might be in a similar vein.
There are two discs included. One with software you install on your computer to have the experience Eno has designed for you. There is also an extra DVD on which Eno gives a roughly five minute history of the events that brought him to release this disc. The rest of this extra DVD consist of roughly 25 minutes of samples of the images the software will generate.
I first watched the DVD with the brief introduction and demo previously mentioned. Based on the samples seen there I thought the software might not live up to my expectations. As Eno says in his introduction the images used have been drawn or painted by hand, not generated using a computer. These hand-painted images seemed to me overly simplistic, most probably because they have been calculated to overlap. Too much complexity in the images once layered could lead to a visually busy effect Eno hoped to avoid. I'm obviously just guessing here. But my initial reaction was, um... perhaps a little less interesting that I would have hoped for.
Then I installed the software and started it up. The image on the screen from which you click 'start' is presumably Eno's own work station with it's multiple computer displays, music keyboards and so forth. Interesting, I quite liked seeing this image.
Once started my fears were allayed. I was instantly absorbed in the sounds and images. This always changing canvas of light-images is more engaging than my first impression. And the sound he composed for this instantly evokes a very contemplative state of mind, much as his other 'ambient' work does. There seem to be bells or gongs involved, so there is almost an element like that of being in a zen temple. It's really quite a beautiful experience. But of course the next time I turn on 77MP the experience will be different. So how can you really lose on this one? I do wish it wasn't preset to always be full screen although I can see why Eno wants it that way. I edit video using two displays, and so alternately it would be great to run images on both displays. But this is just nit picking.
One little caveat though:
At least on my system there seems to be a glitch that causes the music to stop briefly every few minutes. I'm running the 77MP software on a G5 Mac with Dual 2.7 GHz processors and 5.5 Gigs of RAM, so this behavior is somewhat baffling considering the power of my computer. This frequent pause takes away from the experience considerably. I'll try reinstalling and also try it out on my other computer. If I find the glitch there too I may need to return it. This would make me sad since I've already come to enjoy it greatly. This may just be some glitch I can overcome that you may well not have to deal with at all. So don't let that stop you from buying it."
... succesful major realization in new art form ...
Glenn Ralston | Bloomington, IN | 10/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""77 Million Paintings" by Brian Eno is a major statement in a newly invented genre of visual art media revolving around the convergence of sound, video, and computer processing that successfully realizes a profound aesthetic through an easily accessible vision of the artist (and sometimes roughly termed "Visualizer").
Although lost in the maze of forgotten institutional memories, more simplistic examples preceded, like Nam June Paik's 'prepared tvs' at the New School and Thomas Wilfred's 'lumia suite' at the MoMA. With the increasingly powerful help of the Web knowledge bases revisiting such forgotten precursors, we can understand those rudimentary, similar attempts were early efforts at 'light organs and synthesizers', ...but were nowhere near the successful conceptual realizations now by Brian Eno."
Brilliant - don't miss it!
Michael Thomas Roe | Atlanta | 10/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been waiting to get a "piece" of the Eno-installation "action". Here in the culturally devoid Deep South of U.S.A., it just ain't happening. It is now, though. Thank goodness. I received the "77 Million Paintings" and it is a humdinger (I know, a somewhat crude analysis). The "paintings" look stunning on my iMac G5, the 20 inch screen being completely filled with the image. And it is entirely true about Eno's installation work that the images shift almost imperceptibly. That is, until you turn your back and the damn thing changes dramatically. How does he do it? The music is a lot more "rock" and "edgy" than I would have imagined. Lots of Eno squelchy vocals with this strange "whooping" noise (I think I've heard this before on another installation piece), and deep temple bell-like sounds (again this sounds familiar - but not too much so). This is a rare treat. Go get it before the "limited edition" sells out and the Ebay-vultures descend."
Totally worth it
Fofifa | Mar Vista, CA United States | 11/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For $30 some, this is a steal. The DVDs, the booklet and the whole presentation is outstanding. The paintings themselves are very nice, not at all busy or stupidly random - they always seem to deliver. Of course, the ultimate test is to live with this for months/years, and I'm not sure about that. I've only had it for a few days, and so far, so good.
My one quibble is that the software itself is feature poor. Other than a very narrow range of speed, you really can't set any preferences, such as window size etc.
I'm a long time Eno fan, but I'm not sure just how revolutionary this particular idea is. I mean, if you really get down to it, how exactly different is this from a screensaver? It seems to me the difference is one of degree, not class. Yes, it is much more sophisticated, aesthetically pleasing, "artistic" and so forth, but the seed of the idea is really shared by both. In essence, you could say it is a very arty screen saver. This doesn't mean that it's not very gratifying and well-done - it is indeed - but I wouldn't speak of a revolutionary originality of the idea itself.
The music enclosed with this program has been available for a long time, so those who are looking for unrealeased tracks, this is not it. Having said that, it's quite well-matched mood-wise.
Highly recommended. Be careful though... running your lcd/plasma etc. 24/7 for a long time will significantly shorten the lifespan of your display."