77 Million Paintings is a software/DVD combination by British musician Brian Eno, released in 2006.
The release consists of two discs, one containing the software that creates the randomized music and images that emulate a single screen of one of Eno’s video installation pieces. The other is a DVD containing interviews with the artist.
The title is derived from the possible number of combinations of video and music which can be generated by the software, effectively ensuring that the same image/soundscape is never played twice.
An accompanying booklet includes a piece by Nick Robertson describing the intention behind the software, and an article by Brian Eno (“My Light Years”) describing his experiments with light and music.
Far from containing 77 million paintings, the software consists of 296 original works which are overlaid and combined up to four at a time in a simulation of simultaneous projection onto a common screen. The various images are slowly faded in and out asynchronously before being replaced by another random element. Also the music that accompanies the paintings, if played on a Mac G5 or a Windows PC, is randomly generated in a similar way, so the selection of elements and their duration in the piece are arbitrarily chosen, forming a virtually infinite number of variations.
He first created 77 Million Paintings to bring art to the increasing number of flat panel TV’s and monitors that often sit darkened and underutilized. 77 Million is now showing large installations of this work, using multiple-monitor configurations in galleries around the world.