Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dismantling the Next Big Thing: 77 MPs

I've been a little too busy and as unorganised as ever to do too much in the Brighton Festival so far. But one thing I've really been enjoying is Brian Eno's 77 Million Paintings at Fabrica gallery, a constantly shifting montage of images set to an austere soundtrack.

Interestingly it looks like the project was originally a DVD release, but Fabrica have, naturally, turned it into somethin very specific. The environs of the old church, pew-like sets of sofas, and the piles of spot-lit sand leading up to the void of the projection instill a curiously moving, and almost religious atmosphere. (Pictures at Fabrica's Flickr pool.)

A few minutes' observation can be pretty meditative. Initially curious, the mind is sucked in - there is something organic here, spurred on by the resemblance of the exhibit to a flower, perhaps. There is a lucidity, exaggerated by the darkness behind the light. And the mind knows that what you see in front of you is changing, but at the same time this change is difficult to catch a glimpse of. It exists, like dreams, on the edge of perception. The more you look for it, the more you miss it.

For me, in fact, it is this awareness of change that has really forced me to blog about it. In a month of fairly intense change, 77 Million Paintings throws into contrast a lot of how we "progress" through daily life. Adverts, music, gadgets, films, fashions, even people - we become accustomed to distinct change, man-made change. Change that replaces one object with another at an ever-faster rate. "The Next Big Thing".

We forget how change is organic. How it happens in the background, without us. How we need it, rather than vice-versa. What if there was no "Next Big Thing", but just a flow of ... of not "Small Things", of not even "Things". Just a constant shifting. An endless permutation.

I recommend popping in to have a look if you can. It's free.

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