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The Venice Biennale has awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to British composer Brian Eno.

The Venice Biennale has awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to British composer Brian Eno “for his research into the quality, beauty and diffusion of digital sound and for his conception of acoustic space as a compositional instrument”.

The Golden Lion award ceremony will take place on 22 October 2023 at the Ca’ Giustinian Column Hall, the Biennale’s headquarters. The sixty-seventh edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music will be held in Venice from 16 to 29 October 2023, under the direction of Lucia Ronchetti. The edition will be entitled Micro-Music and aims to highlight “the fascination and richness of expression of digital sound”. The programme will feature daily events focusing on new forms of computer and algorithmic composition, experimental performance and generative music.

“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.

© Photograph of Brian Eno downloaded from La Biennale website.