Reinventing Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers’ ‘Bloom’ for mixed reality

HoloLens brings Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers' app, Bloom, into mixed reality, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual during a generative music and art installation.

Musician, producer, visual artist, and thinker Brian Eno, together with longtime collaborator Peter Chilvers, are launching their first mixed reality project with Bloom: Open Space, a generative audio-visual installation brought to life with Microsoft HoloLens. Based on their award-winning app, Bloom, the innovative mixed reality installation blurs the lines between the physical and virtual, exploring uncharted territory in the realms of both applications and generative art.

Bloom: Open Space allows participants to experience the original generative music app in a completely new context. Guests step into a central zone surrounded by screens, where they can physically experience Bloom—tapping the air around them to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies with the simplest of gestures.

Live in Amsterdam for just five days (21-25 February 2018), Bloom: Open Space is an incredible new mixed reality generative music experience created by Brian Eno and his longtime collaborator, Peter Chilvers. For those who were unable to make it to The Transformatorhuis (Trafo House) at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam to explore this MR installation in person, check out our video and photos below, and go behind the scenes to see how HoloLens helped these artists further blur the lines between the physical and virtual.

Of the unique collaboration, Eno says, “I have always been interested by the possibilities that new technologies offer, particularly that subset which falls under the heading ‘things nobody ever thought of doing before.’ This offer was an opportunity to explore the possibilities of Bloom further, and augmented reality further.”

The installation has drawn worldwide interest, bringing audiophiles, artists, and fans from around the globe to this limited engagement.

And Eno’s hope for guests at the installation? “I would like it if people come away from one of my installations wanting to slow down and take more time… It’s a question of somehow getting people to get into a different gear, to enjoy the pleasure of a slower rate of stimulus, to strike a new relationship with a piece of technology.”

I would like it if people come away from one of my installations wanting to slow down and take more time…

- Brian Eno

Peter Chilvers on the magic of Bloom: Open Space and what he hopes people experience.

A man and woman, both wearing Microsoft HoloLens, experience Bloom: Open Space, a generative audio-visual installation

Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers create a "quite magical" flower garden of sound in Amsterdam with Bloom: Open Space

Brian Eno has spent his whole life willing technology to catch up to the creative visions in his head.

The Englishman, who calls himself a “non-musician,” has composed and produced more than two dozen of his own albums, not to mention dozens more collaborations with artists as diverse as Devo and David Bowie. He’s not a technologist, yet technology has been integral to his creativity since the ‘60s, when he developed a tape-delay system that inspired a whole new genre of music.

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