People walk into a circle of six towering screens, wearing high-tech 3D holographic visors. Inside the circle, they are surrounded with hundreds of little-coloured bubbles, growing larger as they float towards the sky. People try to pinch the air with their thumbs and forefingers. Each time they do, new bubbles appear, and each one generates a single, precise musical tone.
This is Bloom: Open Space, an art and music installation created by the famous producer and music pioneer Brian Eno and his collaborator, the musician and software designer Peter Chilvers.
Eno and Chilvers belong to the first major musical artists who experiment with the artistic potential of immersive technologies developed primarily for the video game industry.
Eno says that he considers Bloom: Open Space to be “the beginning of an experiment” with these new technologies. It was “a kind of demo to see how far we could take it with the technology as it stands at the moment”, Eno says.
Eno isn’t absolutely sure about the prospects. “I think there’s something there,” he says, ambiguously. “I’m very aware of the limitations, but I’m also alert to the possibilities.” But he’s attracted to the potential. “I want to be able to be inside the music, to walk around and examine it from different places,” he adds. “I don’t feel this is a replacement for other musical experiences. I feel it’s an easy thing to add.”