Will Wright and Brian Eno: Playing with Time
Deal of the Day: Select DC titles on Blu-ray and DVD
Save on featured DC Comics titles including all season 1s of The Flash, Arrow, and Gotham. This offer ends at 11:59:59 PM (PT) on July 25, 2016. Learn more
Back in the 1970s both speakers got hooked by cellular automata such as Conway's Game of Life, where just a few simple rules could unleash profoundly unpredictable and infinitely varied dynamic patterns. Cellular automata were the secret ingredient of Wright's genre-busting computer game SimCity in 1989. Eno was additionally inspired by Steve Reich's It's Gonna Rain, in which two identical 1.8 second tape loops beat against each other out of phase for a riveting 20 minutes. That idea led to Eno's Music for Airports (1978), and the genre he named ambient music was born.
Wright observed that science is all about compressing reality to minimal rule sets, but generative creation goes the opposite direction. You look for a combination of the fewest rules that can generate a whole complex world which will always surprise you, yet within a framework that stays recognizable. It's not engineering and design, he said, so much as it is gardening. You plant seeds. Richard Dawkins says that a willow seed has only about 800K of data in it.
Eno noted that ambient music, unlike narrative music with a beginning, middle, and end, presents a steady state. It's more like watching a river. Wright said he often uses Eno's music to work to because it gets him in a productive trancelike state. Eno remarked that it's important to keep reducing what the music attempts, and one way he does that is compose everything at double the speed it will be released. Slowing it down reduces its busyness. Wright: How about an album of the fast versions? Eno: 'Amphetamine Ambient.'
These generative forms depend very much on the user actively making connections, Eno said. In my art installations I always have sound and light elements that are completely unsynchronized, and people always assume that they are tightly synchronized. The synchronization occurs in them.
Top Customer Reviews
This is also a very minimal DVD, it is just the video of the lecture, that is it, no extras.
It is also an interesting character study of Eno in his later life. He's obviously a big fan of Spore's creator, but in the way that Andy Warhol was interested in Basquiat: one is obviously the visionary and one is the brilliant coat-tail rider. Eno being the cross platform visionary, and Will, just another programming genius lucky enough to have his games liked by the fickle video game buyers of the world, absent any charisma or real world life experience. He's just using Eno's name to generate publicity for his special generative algorithms because nobody remembers he designed Sims. You can tell how little he understands Eno or his work by some of the lame questions he poses.
The format is a casual lecture, with Eno playing sounds from his laptop(that we really only hear in the background, which is ironic, because that is what Eno is famous for) while the game designer verbally masturbates about his creation.
I gave it four stars because the packaging and description are misleading.
It's an interesting lecture that belongs in anyone's collection of Eno memorabilia.