Brian Eno & Jennifer Jacquet on Shame Totems

A Rough Mix: Brian Eno & Jennifer Jacquet (An Edge Conversation)

by John Brockman
Composer/artist Brian Eno and Jennifer Jacquet, a postdoctoral researcher who studies “shame”, were brought together for the Edge-Serpentine Gallery colloboration for Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Garden Marathon, where Jacquet talked about on the role of shame in the original garden, the Garden of Eden, while Eno characterized “Composers as Gardeners”.
“The act of making art is something we share”, Eno says, and he embraces articulating his artistic process. Two-third’s of his voluminous life’s work has been done in collaboration, and here in his London music studio he sits with Jacquet to discuss the inspiration and creative process in their collaboration over Jacquet’s project: a “Shame Totem”.
As her research of shame, Jacquet has focused on the role of totem poles in native communities as a way of using public scorn and shame to instill societal cooperation. She points out that one feels shame, as learned through the story of Eden, only when one is being watched. She is in the process of creating a 3-D shame totem taking on the behaviors of many of today’s largest corporations.
For Eno, the purpose of adding music to an instillation such as a shame totem, is so that a viewer can understand how to experience the piece in time. In Eno’s work, music often serves an ergonomic function, it helps dictate the amount of time one should spend viewing a work of art. Absent knowing where the totem-pole will end up, Eno discusses the factors he considers in reaping a mix, a rough mix.