The concept behind Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports may have worked in part because so many people have personally gripped the red tape inside airports. We can relate to, and perhaps subsequently joke about, all of the strain and stress-inducing stuff that occurs because, after all, most of us don’t have a choice in the matter, aside from the airlines we choose — and because, if we’re being honest here, most of what we have to endure just isn’t that serious in the long-run. Temporary outrage at being molested in the name of security leads to late-night fantasies in your subsidized hotel room. Or is that just me?
For a stark change in venue, let’s move to hospitals, which are more or less synonymous with suffering and death. Tact assumes a role of greater importance for any artist choosing the hospital as their subject, which is probably why Brian Eno plans to limit his upcoming soundtrack and light installation to (for the time being) one hospital in particular, as opposed to disseminating the work(s) to the general public. Yeah, sorry.
Eno has two sound and light installations set for debut at the Montefiore Hospital in Hove, England. The first, “77 Million Paintings for Montefiore,” is for the reception area, while the second, “The Quiet Room for Montefiore” is a specially designed space for “patients, staff, and guests” to escape more serious, non-TSA-related stresses. Serenity and mental healing is the stated goal here, while patients will presumably start giving equal prayer time to both Jesus and his cooler, younger, follicular opposite.
To reiterate, according to The Independent, a spokesperson for Eno said, “It’s true to say that ‘The Quiet Room for Montefiore’ is an album that can only be heard in the Montefiore Hospital.” It might just be worth exposing oneself to illness.
• Brian Eno: http://brian-eno.net