Thursday, February 14, 2019

Brian Eno – 77 Million Paintings

An edited version of this review appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on 27 January 2019.

Brian Eno has come a long way from his early incarnation as a glammed-up synthesizer player with Roxy Music nearly 50 years ago. In addition to his pioneering work in ambient music, he’s known for his creative collaborations with such recherch√© figures as John Cale and Robert Fripp. Torn between visual art and music since his art school days, Eno arrived at the insight that these media could overlap and that he could make visual objects that changed in time like music. Hence his installation at the RHA where the title 77 Million Paintings refers to the ever-changing visual array he has created using computer software that generates infinite variations from a basic set of 296 images painted on slides. One wall of the large upstairs gallery has a screen featuring this kaleidoscope of abstract shapes as they imperceptibly fade one into another – accompanied by a haunting soundtrack also randomly generated. The space is otherwise in darkness apart from three mysterious mounds of pebbles lit from above and constantly changing colour. You make your way through a perimeter of 12 silver birch trees to the sanctuary of four comfortable sofas where you can immerse yourself in the infinity of images..

John P. O’Sullivan

January 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Six Nations 2019 Prognostications

So how’s it been for you so far? First things first – the championship is over and England have won. Even if they lose away to Wales they have garnered enough bonus points and will undoubtedly get more (Italy and Scotland at home). If they lose to Wales they will still probably have a minimum of 20 points - and maybe 21 if they lose narrowly. If Wales win all their matches the will have 20 points – they will hardly get bonus points away to Scotland or at home to England and Ireland. The clincher is points difference – if they both finish on 20 or 21 points then England should have a vastly superior points difference. Anyway I doubt it will come to that. I think that Wales are overrated and the English juggernaut will roll over them and sadly give England the Grand Slam.

Ireland have been poor so far – for many different reasons. Against England they were suffering from injuries and the aftermath of injuries in crucial areas. Murray and Sexton played but neither of them was anywhere near their 2018 form. Nor were they against Scotland and this has caused a leadership dearth – particularly in attack. Henshaw was close to being a disaster against England and we missed Kearney’s experience at full-back. In addition to these crucial areas we have had no continuity in the centre or the second row. Also, the back row is missing Leavy and O’Brien is far from back to his best. Oh and Rory Best is well over the hill – play Cronin from the start please. We missed Ringrose’s creativity against Scotland and Henderson’s intensity in both matches. In both matches also we looked short of an alternative offensive plan once our usual tactics had been negated – as they were in both matches. We’ll probably win all our remaining matches if we get a few of our injured back to to full power – although the Wales match should be very close.