Musician Brian Eno composes soundscapes to treat hospital patients

Art from Brian Eno's installation

Brian Eno has designed an ambient “healing environment” for hospitals so that patients can recuperate to a backdrop of soothing light and sound.

Eno is a former Roxy Music member who produced landmark albums for David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2. Last week Eno unveiled two individual light and sound installations at the newly-opened Montefiore Hospital in Hove, east Sussex. An example of the light installation is shown above.

Often cited as the inventor of “ambient music”, Eno, 64, has created “77 Million Paintings for Montefiore”, an installation of light and “generative music” in the reception area. Eno’s “generative music” employs an electronic system so that the sounds are constantly changing and never repeat.

Eno has also created “Quiet Room for Montefiore”, a space available downstairs to patients, visitors and staff as a place to “escape” – “somewhere to think, take stock or simply relax.”

Here Eno decided that generative music would not be suitable so he has recorded a special soundtrack and created a light installation specifically for the space.

Eno, who previously created a soundtrack to enhance the airport experience for jittery fliers, was asked to provide installations by Robin Turner, a local surgeon, after his wife had spent two hours immersed in the quiet serenity of one of the producer’s installations.

The hospital agreed that an installation could have a well-being effect on staff and patients.

Architects IBI Nightingale said: “Creating a healing environment isn’t only about correct surgical procedures and the right technology but also about making an atmosphere where the patients feel able to relax enough to clearly think through their options, and to properly take part in the healing process themselves.”

Research has provided evidence that the use of art and music can produce improved psychological, physiological and biological outcomes of clinical significance in patient care.

This article was first published in The Independent.

Image is credited to Dominic's pics from Flickr.

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