The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music 2023 is awarded to Brian Eno for his compositional research into the beauty and diffusion of digital sound and for his conception of the acoustic space as a compositional instrument. The renowned composer, producer, visual artist and activist, tireless innovator in the fields of compositional creativity and applied digital sound technology, will present the world première of his project Ships at the Teatro La Fenice, 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. Brian Eno himself will also be present on stage as solo voice, interacting with the orchestral atmospheres diffused and processed for the theatre’s particular acoustic space.
From the very beginning of his career, 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 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 him 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.
Gary Hustwit, the American director and photographer, will present, Nothing Can Ever Be The Same, a documentary in the form of an installation based on generative technology, which will offer an artistic retrospective of Brian Eno through interviews, video-art projects, conferences, performances and backstage documentation from concerts and artistic events. Hustwit’s immersive visual project deals with issues fundamental to Brian Eno’s creative research and to his commitment to sustainability, social justice and the future of civilisation. The generative software specially developed for the documentary project by Hustwit and the digital artist Brendan Dawes offers the experience of a unique vision and unprecedented access to the development of Brian Eno’s art. The documentary highlights the concept of generative music, applying it to visual material related to Brian Eno’s life, and constructing a vast palette of sounds and images which are interpreted and analysed by means of an algorithmic system to generate ever-changing forms for a convergence between artistic creation and digital automation.