Ambient Kyoto: Brian Eno Stages His First Large-Scale Exhibition in Japan




If you live in Kyoto or are traveling to Japan in the next two months or, who knows, maybe you have a whole lotta miles saved up on your credit card, Brian Eno has a career-spanning exhibition going on at the former welfare centre of the Kyoto Chuo Shinkin Bank.

The above live stream recording features a selection of previously released ambient work, along with a panel of Japanese “Eno Experts” chatting about the musician/producer/artist/thinker. They play selections on vinyl, show clips from rare Eno documentaries, even manage to dig up a LaserDisc of Thursday Afternoon and a CD-Rom of Head Candy.


Ambient Kyoto is Eno’s first large-scale exhibition in Japan, and features the installations “77 Million Paintings,” “The Ship,” his constantly shifting “Light Boxes,” a stream of “The Lighthouse,” Eno’s SONOS channel of his unreleased archive, and a new work called “Face to Face,” which the exhibition site describes thus:

This work began with a small group of photographs of the faces of 21 real people, each in a single still image. Using special software, the image slowly changes pixel by pixel from one real face to another. This creates a long chain of “new humans” between the real faces of each and every one, such as those who didn’t actually exist, intermediate humans, and more than 36,000 new faces, 30 per second. can do.

Yes, you say, that’s all very nice, but what’s on sale at the gift shop? Here you won’t be disappointed. There’s vinyl and CD albums, an exhibit catalog, t-shirts, tote bags, and boxes of Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. And only in Japan can you get this: a box of Japanese sweets designed to look like one of his light installations.

The exhibit is affordable (around $20) and you can stay as long as you like. Eno continues to fascinate and make art in spaces where he’s often the first to start exploring—-certainly in terms of ambient and generative art he has been a pioneer. In an interview near the end of the eight-hour live stream he describes his career:

“I just don’t see anybody else doing [these installations]. And I know it’s powerful. So I think wow, I’ve got this all to myself. So instead of shooting arrows at somebody else’s target, which I’ve never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow’s happened to have landed.”

Learn more about the exhibition here.

Related Content:

Listen to “Brian Eno Day,” a 12-Hour Radio Show Spent With Eno & His Music (Recorded in 1988)

Brian Eno’s Advice for Those Who Want to Do Their Best Creative Work: Don’t Get a Job

Brian Eno Lists the Benefits of Singing: A Long Life, Increased Intelligence, and a Sound Civilization

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.


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