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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Musica 2023

Brian Eno

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Award ceremony

Sunday 22 October, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

Brian Eno

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Brian Eno.

“From the very beginning of his career – writes Lucia Ronchetti in the motivation for the award – Brian Eno’s compositions have been conceived in terms of a generative process that evolves in a potentially infinite time dimension, foreshadowing many of today’s compositional trends linked to digital sound. His conception of the recording studio as a meta-instrument for the purposes of composition, the domain for the processing, multiplication and assemblage of recorded sound fragments, acoustic simulacra and autonomous sound objects, has allowed Brian Eno to create immersive electronic space that transforms and permeates the sound reality which surrounds us, in accordance with ever-changing dramaturgies. Thanks to his understanding of recorded music as a vast archive of infinitesimal sound fragments, an infinite acoustic palette at the disposal of the composer, a mise en abyme of music history, generative ambient music is perceived by Brian Eno as the conceptual creation of a seed that is able to develop, rather than as a tree already designed in every detail, invoking a compositional paradigm inspired by biology rather than by architecture, one able to evolve on its own and constantly generate new soundscapes”.

Aside from music, Brian Eno has expanded his personal creative development engaging a multiplicity of disciplines – painting, sculpture, video art. An expressive kaleidoscope that has been circulated through his works, featured in the various festivals of La Biennale di Venezia: in 1985 Brian Eno participated in the 42nd Venice International Film Festival (Video music section) with the 80-minute Thursday Afternoon, video painting, which he directed and for which he wrote the screenplay and music; the following year he presented one of his visual sculptures, Installazione di suoni, luci e video for the 42nd International Art Exhibition titled Art and Science (in the Biology, Technology and Computer Science section); he was invited back in 2006, this time to Biennale Musica, with a complex video-installation distributed across three connecting spaces, Painting like Music. This year for Biennale Musica, Brian Eno will present the world premiere of his project Ships at the Teatro La Fenice on October 21st, in a performance featuring the Baltic Sea Philharmonic conducted by Kristjan Järvi, actor Peter Serafinowicz, and long-time collaborators, guitarist Leo Abrahams and software designer Peter Chilvers, interacting with the orchestral atmospheres diffused and processed for the theatre’s particular acoustic space. There will be two performances of the concert: at 3 pm and at 8 pm.

Brian Eno is the subject of Nothing Can Ever Be The Same, a generative video art installation by American filmmaker Gary Hustwit and British digital artist Brendan Dawes, which may be viewed in its world premiere from October 22nd to 29th in the Sale d’Armi of the Arsenale. Nothing Can Ever Be The Same is a 168-hour long immersive video piece which uses Eno’s music, ideas, art, and other documentary material to construct a vast palette of sounds and images which are interpreted by custom generative software. A groundbreaking piece of visual art, Nothing Can Ever Be The Same creates an ever-changing convergence between artistic creation and digital experimentation, and provides a unique vision into the development of the British composer’s art.

Biographical notes

Brian Eno (1948, Melton – UK) - musician, producer, visual artist and activist - first came to international prominence in the early seventies as a founding member of British band, Roxy Music, followed by a series of solo albums and collaborations.

His work as producer includes albums with Talking Heads, Devo, U2, Laurie Anderson, James, Jane Siberry and Coldplay, while his long list of collaborations include recordings with David Bowie, Jon Hassell, Harold Budd, John Cale, David Byrne, Grace Jones, Karl Hyde, James Blake and most recently with his brother, Roger, on the album, Mixing Colours. In August 2021, they performed together for the very first time, and to a rapturous audience at the Acropolis in Athens.

Brian Eno’s visual experiments with light and video continue to parallel his musical career, with exhibitions and installations all over the globe. To date he has released over forty albums of his own music and exhibited extensively, as far afield as the Venice Biennale, St. Petersburg’s Marble Palace, Ritan Park in Beijing, Arcos de Lapa in Rio de Janeiro and the sails of the Sydney Opera House. He is a founding member of the Long Now Foundation, a trustee of Client Earth and patron of Videre est Credere. In April 2021, he launched EarthPercent, which raises money from the music industry for some of the most impactful environmental charities working on the climate emergency.

Biennale Musica
Biennale Musica