Surrender and control

I went to see Brian Eno speak the other night. You remember him from Roxy Music, U2 and Cold Play. He has a show 77 Million Paintings at the Glenbow Museum.

Brian spoke about his evolution from an art school grad to a musician.

What attracted him initially was the work of Terry Riley who composed a piece in C with 53 bars. The artist establishes the parameters and musicians played numerous instruments according to their whims or wishes. So each time the piece was heard it was a totally different experience.

Eno spoke about how we’ve gone from a society where control is the dominant trait of our culture to one where many can contribute and exchange ideas.

With his show of 77 Million Paintings, an immersive installation that mixes sight and sound, he says that people come to the show in a bit of a hurry to see the piece. However, the light projecting the various bits and pieces moves very slowly. After a while, people begin to relax and some stay in the rooms watching the paintings slowly change and move for hours. He maintains that people surrender to the art and its slowness, something that we don’t often get a chance to do. For most of us, surrender occurs during sex, drugs, religion and art.

He suggests we are on a continuum between control and surrender and that surrendering is something we need to learn – much like a surfer – riding the wave one minute, and controlling your movements the next.

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