The world renowned artist and musician Brian Eno visited the Montefiore Hospital in Hove on Thursday April 18 to speak about his light and sound installations. The Montefiore is the only hospital in the world to feature Brian Eno’s work.
The first piece, 77 Million Paintings for Montefiore, is an installation of light and generative music in the reception area.
Brian said: “77 Million Paintings can be thought of as a continually changing painting made with light. The piece is made from a large selection of drawings and images that I’ve made over the last 30 years. The picture you see at any moment is composed of up to five of these drawings laid over one another. Specially written software randomly selects the image layers and combines them in new combinations on the screens. This produces a constantly evolving light-painting which is unlikely to exactly repeat itself in hundreds of years.
“The movement of the whole piece is deliberately slow. My feeling is that this slowness produces a calming experience – because it takes the viewer down to its speed.”
Brian’s second installation is the “Quiet Room for Montefiore”. This is an entire room available to patients, visitors and staff as a place to “escape” – somewhere to think, take stock or simply relax. The light and generative music create an ambience that promotes quiet reflection and relaxation.
Lynette Awdry, Matron of the Montefiore and a former MacMillan nurse, explained the purpose of the Quiet Room: “A hospital is a busy place, there’s a lot going on and patients can quite often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they are given. In particular, patients who are struggling to come to terms with a serious illness need time and space to be able to do this.
“The Quiet Room provides a sanctuary where patients and their loved ones can stop the world for a moment and sit quietly and reflect. One patient told me that it’s the most important room in the hospital for him.”
Over the last 15 years, research into the effect of the use of Art and Music on psychological, physiological and biological outcomes of clinical significance has provided mounting evidence that the use of art and music does deliver beneficial treatment to patients. This is not a new idea but is often overlooked. Florence Nightingale observed in 1859 that “variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients have a powerful effect and are actual means of recovery.”
Spire Healthcare actively encouraged the medical staff working in the hospital to contribute to the design of the interior of the building, ensuring that patients are treated and staff can work in the best possible environment. Surgeon Robin Turner became aware of the tranquil aspect of Brian Eno’s installations and suggested they would have health and well-being benefits in a hospital setting.
Photographs by Teri Vincent
About the Montefiore Hospital
The Montefiore Hospital is located in the centre of Hove. It is operated by Spire Healthcare, the second largest provider of private healthcare in the UK. It is a full-service hospital providing treatment for most medical conditions and cosmetic procedures.
About Brian Eno
Brian Eno’s music came to prominence 40 years ago with two albums in two years with Roxy Music. He went on to father the ambient music movement and has worked with many illustrious artists including David Bowie, U2, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Coldplay, David Byrne, John Cale, Laurie Anderson, Robert Fripp and Michael Nyman.