Brian Eno on Why Do We Make Art & What’s It Good For?

Colin Marshall over at Open Culture:

“Symphonies, perfume, sports cars, graffiti, needlepoint, monuments, tattoos, slang, Ming vases, doodles, poodles, apple strudels. Still life, Second Life, bed knobs and boob jobs” — why do we make any of these things? That question has driven much of the career (and indeed life) of Brian Eno, the man who invented ambient music and has brought his distinctive, at once intellectual and visceral sensibility to the work of bands like Roxy Music, U2, and Coldplay as well as the realm of visual art. Back in September, he laid out all the illuminating and entertaining answers at which he has thus far arrived in giving the BBC’s 2015 John Peel Lecture.

We featured Eno’s wide-ranging talk on the nature of art and culture, as well as its utility to the human race, back when the Beeb offered it streaming for a limited time only. But now they’ve made it freely available to download and listen to as you please: you can download the MP3 at this link. You can also follow along, if you like, with the PDF transcript available here, which will certainly be of assistance when you go to look up all the people, ideas, works of art, and pieces of history Eno references along the way, including but not limited to the “STEM” subjects, Baked Alaska, black Chanel frocks, the Riemann hypothesis, Little Dorrit, Morse Peckham, Coronation Street, airplane simulators, the dole, Lord Reith, John Peel himself, Basic Income, Linux, and collective joy.

More here. The lecture can be found here.