Brian Eno's claims to fame include musician, producer and artist. Now he is hoping his latest work -- an art installation on the Sydney Opera House -- will encourage artists to tackle global warming, reports Reuters today.
Eno, who describes himself as a "non-musician," is curating Luminous, a new annual festival of music, art installations and talks organized by the Opera House as part of Sydney's music and light festival, Vivid.
As well as playing with other musicians in a series of three concerts, the former Roxy Music keyboard and synthesizer player has designed a lighting display to project onto the sails of the Opera House every evening during the May 26-June 14 festival. Eno said he hoped the events at Luminous, which include a discussion with environmental legal group Client Earth, would encourage artists to make people think about climate change.
"Artists have become so lazy in articulating their corner," Eno told Reuters in an interview at the Sydney Opera House. "But artists can create a sense of what is cool and what is not, what is acceptable, exciting, timely... I would like to see a future where artists think that they have a right to contemplate things like global warming."
Eno, 61, has become renowned for putting forward his views on issues ranging from war to the climate and for experimenting with both art and music. Over the years he has worked on albums with U2, David Bowie, David Byrne, Talking Heads and Coldplay. His eclectic and frequently ambient electronic music has appeared in films such as "Trainspotting," "Velvet Goldmine" and "Heat."
But he also likes to come up with new words to describe cultural patterns, acknowledging that at breakfast he invented a new word -- ontin, meaning the ostensible usage of something -- which he has already used a few times to much bewilderment.
Eno said he coined the term "ambient music" to describe a genre of low-volume music that modified people's perception of the surrounding environment and that had yet to be classified. "Sometimes you recognize that there is a category of human experience that has not been identified but everyone knows about it," said Eno. "That is when I find a term to describe it."
While his musical career has made him a celebrity, Eno studied art and has always pursued artistic ventures.
On show in Sydney is his work, "77 million paintings," which involved cutting up 300 of his hand-drawn images and projecting them in a gallery. The work has already been seen in Venice, Milan, Tokyo, London and San Francisco.
Eno said he wanted his art to make people stop and think. "I try to make things seductive and inviting enough for people to want to surrender themselves to them ... and stop being yourself for a little while."