Rethinking one’s own position as a creator

Is a composer like an architect, directing every detail of the music, from its structure to its finish? That, says Brian Eno, is the traditional view (never mind my architect friends’ complaints about the impossibility of getting builders to fully follow the blueprints). As you might guess, Eno prefers another approach, less about wresting control than laying a groundwork and then seeing what grows.

And essentially the idea there is that one is making a kind of music in the way that one might make a garden.  One is carefully constructing seeds, or finding seeds, carefully planting them and then letting them have their life.  And that life isn’t necessarily exactly what you’d envisaged for them.  It’s characteristic of the kind of work that I do that I’m really not aware of how the final result is going to look or sound.  So in fact, I’m deliberately constructing systems that will put me in the same position as any other member of the audience.  I want to be surprised by it as well.  And indeed, I often am.

What this means, really, is a rethinking of one’s own position as a creator.  You stop thinking of yourself as me, the controller, you the audience, and you start thinking of all of us as the audience, all of us as people enjoying the garden together.  Gardener included.  So there’s something in the notes to this thing that says something about the difference between order and disorder.


from “Composers As Gardeners,” by Brian Eno, Edge, 10 November 2011 :: via The Browser

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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