Ever wondered what it would look and feel like to stand inside a kaleidoscope? In 2007, we found out when musician, sound and light artist Brian Eno created a specially commissioned installation of ever-evolving lights to fill the Ultra Lounge at Selfridges London. He based it on an earlier piece, 77 Million Paintings, a generative artwork (one created autonomously by a specially programmed computer). Eno described the effect as ‘visual music…a slow-changing light painting’.
“It was black when you entered – you weren't quite sure if there was anything in the room, your eyes had to get used to the darkness, and there was this very beautiful music and these extraordinary images. Selfridges did the opposite of what a shop normally wants to do – give people the chance to shop as much as they can – and they had the confidence to say: ‘no, we think it's really important to change the mood and give the people the chance to breathe, to relax, to meditate, to enjoy a little bit of off-time’. It was glorious.” – Bettina von Hase, Founder of Nine AM Ltd and former Art Adviser for Selfridges
“The purpose of work like this is to create mental space for people, to give them the chance to surrender to something rich and seductive enough to change their pace. It’s an experience we don’t get much of in a city, where so much of our activity is directed and purposeful.”
– Brian Eno, as quoted in Ten Years in The Bag