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robertogreco : blue   23

Colonialism Created Navy Blue | JSTOR Daily
"The indigo dye that created the Royal Navy’s signature uniform color was only possible because of imperialism and slavery."
color  colors  blue  imperialism  colonialism  economics  2019  slavery  uniforms 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Overdyed Rugs
"The journey of over-dyed rugs began in Istanbul, Turkey during efforts to revitalize old hand-woven rugs. Vintage rugs were first decolorized and then over-dyed. The mix of traditional designs with a contemporary effect became the celebration of chromatic compositions. Kilim.com became part of this exciting process and now has one of the largest collections of hand-woven over-dyed Turkish vintage area rugs and patchworks and we are delighted to share them with you. Please read our article about over-dyed rugs for more info."

[See also:
"Overdyed Vintage Rugs: Get The ‘Lived On’ Look"
https://www.kilim.com/kilim-wiki/overdyed-rugs ]
blue  rugs  textiles 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Gradients are everywhere from Facebook to the New York Times - Vox
"Here’s why The Daily, Coachella, and Facebook all use backgrounds that look like a sunset."



"What it is: A digital or print effect where one color fades into another. Typically rendered in soft or pastel tones.

Where it is: Gradients are seemingly everywhere in media and marketing. They are part of a suite of Facebook status backdrops introduced in 2017 and the branding for the New York Times’ popular podcast The Daily, which displays a yellow to blue gradient.

Gradients have taken over Coachella’s app and website (if you watch carefully, the colors shift). Ally’s billboard in A Star Is Born is a full-on gradient, and so was the branding for the Oscars ceremony that recognized Lady Gaga.

On Instagram, they provide a product backdrop for popular Korean beauty brand Glow, and have been embraced by indie magazines Gossamer and Anxy — both designed by Berkeley studio Anagraph.

On the luxury front, Brooklyn wallpaper company Calico has released an entire collection of gradient wallpapers called Aurora. Meanwhile, Spanish fashion house Loewe has introduced a version of their trendy Elephant bag in a spectrum of pink to yellow.

Are gradients drinkable? Heck yes, they are. Seltzer startup Recess has gone all-in on gradients in their branding.

Why you’re seeing it everywhere: Gradients are the confluence of three different trends: Light and Space art, vaporwave, and bisexual lighting.

In the art and design world, Light and Space — developed in the 1960s and ’70s — has been experiencing a revival thanks to its Instagramability. Light and Space pioneer James Turrell has been embraced by celebrities like Beyoncé, Drake, and Kanye West. Drake’s Hotline Bling video was inspired by Turrell’s light-infused rooms called Ganzfelds. The Kardashian-Jenner-West crew posted an Instagram in front of one of Turrell’s works in Los Angeles. (I was yelled at by security for taking a picture there but it’s fine.)

[image]

Most recently, West donated $10 million dollars to the artist.

James Turrell’s works come with a warning because the visitor quickly loses all depth perception. Soft gradients are alluring because they cut through the noise of social media, but they also are disorienting. The Twitter bot soft landscapes operates on a similar principle, but some days the landscape all but disappears.

“It’s nice to see calming things amongst all of the social ramifications of Instagram,” says Rion Harmon of Day Job, the design firm of record for Recess. Harmon compares the Recess branding to a sunset so beautiful you can’t help but stare (or take a picture) however busy you are. Changes to the sky are even more pronounced in Los Angeles, where Harmon’s studio is now based. “The quality of light in LA is something miraculous,” he says. The Light and Space movement was also started in Southern California, and it’s in the DNA of Coachella.

Gradients might be a manifestation of longing for sunshine and surf. But they also belong to the placeless digital citizen. 1980s and ’90s kids may remember messing around in Microsoft Paint and Powerpoint as a child, filling in shapes with these same gradients. It’s no surprise that this design effect is part of the technological nostalgia that fuels the vaporwave movement.

Vaporwave is a musical and aesthetic movement (started in the early 2010s) that spliced ambient music, advertising, and imagery from when the internet started. Gradient artwork shared by the clothing brand Public Space is vaporwave. So is this meme posted by direct-to-consumer health startup Hers.

[image]

When Facebook rolled out gradient status backgrounds in 2017, they knew what they were doing. “They have so much data into how the world works,” says Kerry Flynn, platforms reporter at Digiday. “They had a slow rollout to the color gradients … Obviously they could have pulled the plug anytime.”

Flynn goes on to explain that Facebook realized they had become their own worst enemy. There was so much information on their platform that personal sharing was down and they had to make it novel again. “Facebook wants our personal data, as much as possible. Hence, colorful backgrounds that encourage me to post information about myself and for my friends to ‘Like’ it and comment,” she says.

It’s ironic that in order to do so, Facebook borrowed from a digital texture most millennials associate with a time before Facebook. But it also mimics a current trend in film and television: bisexual lighting.

As Know Your Meme explains, “bisexual lighting is a slang in the queer community for neon lighting with high emphasis on pinks, purples, and blues in film.” These pinks, purples and blues often fade into one another — appearing like a gradient when rendered in two dimensions. Bisexual lighting shows up in the futuristic genre cyberpunk, which imagines an era in which high technology and low technology combine and cities are neon-bathed, landmarkless Gothams. (Overlapping with vaporwave.) Mainstream examples of cyberpunk include Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and Black Mirror (specifically the “San Junipero” episode). Hotline Bling makes the list of examples for bisexual lighting; the gradients come full circle.

Tati Pastukhova, co-founder of interactive art space ARTECHOUSE, says gradients have become more popular as computer display quality increases. She says the appeal of gradients is “the illusion of dimension, and giving 2-D designs 3-D appeal.” ARTECHOUSE is full of light-based digital installations, but visitors naturally gravitate toward what is most photogenic — including, unexpectedly, the soft lighting the space installed along their staircase for safety reasons.

[image]

Before gradients, neon lettering was the Instagram lighting aesthetic du jour. Gradients are wordless — like saying Live Laugh Love with just colors. “There’s an inherent progression in gradients, you are being taken through something. Like that progression of Live Laugh Love. Of starting at one point and ending at another point. Evoking that visually is something people are very drawn to,” says Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at the Atlantic who covers internet culture.

Gradients are also boundaryless. In 2016, artist Wolfgang Tillmans used gradients in his anti-Brexit poster campaign. Through gradients, designers have found the perfect metaphor for subjectivity in an era when even the word “fact” is up for debate. “Gradients are a visual manifestation of all of these different spectrums that we live on,” including those of politics, gender, and sexuality, says Lorenz. “Before, I think we lived in a binary world. [Gradients are] a very modern representation of the world.”

At the very least, gradients offer an opportunity to self-soothe.

Calico co-founder Nick Cope says the Aurora collection is often used in meditation rooms. He and his wife have installed it across from their bed at home. “The design was created to immerse viewers in waves and washes of tranquil atmospheric color,” Cope says, adding, “Regardless of the weather, we wake up to a sunrise every morning.”"

[See also:
"Is 'bisexual lighting' a new cinematic phenomenon?"
https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43765856 ]
color  gradients  design  socialmedia  jamesturrell  2019  light  space  perception  neon  desig  graphicdesign  ux  ui  wolfgangtillmans  nickcope  meditation  colors  tatipastukhova  artechouse  computing  bisexuallighting  lighting  queer  knowyourmeme  pink  purple  blue  cyberpunk  future  technology  hightechnology  lowtechnology  vaporwave  bladerunner  ghostintheshell  blackmirror  sanjunipero  hotlinebling  kerryflynn  facebook  microsoftpaint  rionharmon  sunsets  california  socal  losangeles  coachella  depthperception  ganzfelds  drake  kanyewest  beyoncé  anagraph  ladygaga  daisyalioto 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Ancient pigment can boost energy efficiency | University of California
"A color developed by Egyptians thousands of years ago has a modern-day application as well – the pigment can boost energy efficiency by cooling rooftops and walls, and could also enable solar generation of electricity via windows.

Egyptian blue, derived from calcium copper silicate, was routinely used on ancient depictions of gods and royalty. Previous studies have shown that when Egyptian blue absorbs visible light, it then emits light in the near-infrared range. Now a team led by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has confirmed the pigment’s fluorescence can be 10 times stronger than previously thought.

Measuring the temperature of surfaces coated in Egyptian blue and related compounds while they are exposed to sunlight, Berkeley Lab researchers found the fluorescent blues can emit nearly 100 percent as many photons as they absorb. The energy efficiency of the emission process is up to 70 percent (the infrared photons carry less energy than visible photons).

The finding adds to insights about which colors are most effective for cooling rooftops and facades in sunny climates. Though white is the most conventional and effective choice for keeping a building cool by reflecting sunlight and reducing energy use for air conditioning, building owners often require non-white colors for aesthetic reasons. For example, bright-white asphalt shingles are almost never used on sloping residential roofs.

Berkeley Lab researchers have already shown that fluorescent ruby red pigments can be an effective alternative to white; this insight on Egyptian blue adds to the menu of cooling color choices. Further, they found that fluorescent green and black colors can be produced with yellow and orange co-pigments. The new findings were recently published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

In addition to its cooling potential for buildings, Egyptian blue’s fluorescence could also be useful in producing solar energy. Used on windows tinted with the blue, photovoltaic cells on the edges can convert the fluoresced near-infrared energy to electricity.

Substantial research over the years from Berkeley Lab’s Heat Island Group has found that reflective roofs and walls can cool buildings and cars. This reduces the need for air conditioning and mitigates the urban heat island effect. By reflecting the sun’s rays back to space, these cool materials also release less heat into the atmosphere, thus cooling the planet and offsetting the warming effects of substantial amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

This work was led by Paul Berdahl of the Heat Island Group as part of the Cool Walls project supported by the Electric Program Investment Charge program of the California Energy Commission."
blue  pigment  energy  efficiency  2018 
october 2018 by robertogreco
The surprising pattern behind color names around the world - YouTube
"In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.

Read more on the research mentioned in this video:

Cook, Kay, and Regier on the World Color Survey: goo.gl/MTUi9C
Stephen C. Levinson on Yele color terms: goo.gl/CYDfvw
John A. Lucy on Hanunó'o color terms: goo.gl/okcyC3
Loreto, Mukherjee, and Tria on color naming population simulations: goo.gl/rALO1S

To learn more about how your language's color words can affect the way you think, check out this video lecture: goo.gl/WxYi1q "
color  classideas  perception  language  languages  paulkay  brentberlin  anthropology  linguistics  red  yellow  blue  green 
may 2018 by robertogreco
“Blue” for Go? Exploring Japanese Colors | Nippon.com
"Shifting Color Meanings

“Blue” traffic lights come as a shock to many students of Japanese. If one learns that midori is “green” and ao is “blue,” it is surprising to find that the clearly green traffic lights at Japanese intersections are described as aoshingō. This demonstrates that even common words may not have simple translations. Japanese traffic lights are not actually blue; they are ao, a word that usually means “blue” but can also mean “green.”

Ao, one of the oldest color words in Japanese, was once much broader in application. In several still common words, it denotes the vivid green of fresh vegetation, as in early summer. Examples include aoba (fresh foliage), aona (leafy green vegetables), aomame (green soybeans or peas), and even the prefectural name Aomori, which according to one explanation originally referred to the green juniper bushes covering a small hill in what is now the prefectural capital. The word ao has also been used historically for a broad range of colors tending toward other shades, including black, white, and gray.

The shifting meanings of the past can be fascinating, if potentially confusing. In the earliest records of the Japanese language, ao and aka (now red) were indicators of brightness. While kuro (black) denoted darkness and shiro (white) light, ao was used for darker and aka for brighter shades in between. Just as kuro and kurai (dark) share the same etymological root, aka is related to akarui (bright).

Long after much of this early linguistic uncertainty had settled down, the use of ao to mean “green” persisted into the age of traffic lights. Japan’s first electric traffic light was installed in Hibiya, Tokyo, in 1930. It was imported from the United States and featured the three standard colors. The original legislation actually designated the “go” color as midori, but the Japanese public insisted on calling it ao and the naming stuck. In 1947 aoshingō was written into Japanese law as the official name of the “go” signal.

A Colorful Tradition

English influences colors as it shapes other parts of the Japanese language. It might seem unlikely that burū (blue) and gurīn (green) could ever replace ao and midori, even though the katakana terms are now often heard. Yet orenji (orange) is arguably more used than the traditional daidai, which takes its name from a similar citrus fruit. Pinku (pink) is also firmly entrenched in the language, and more common than its loose synonym momo (peach).

The Japanese color shu (vermilion) is sometimes described simply as “red” or occasionally “orange,” the lack of precision reflecting its lesser importance in the English-speaking world. In Japan, though, as in other parts of East Asia, it is deeply rooted in the culture. It is the color of torii gates at Shintō shrines, the shuniku inkpads paired with personal seals, and the ink used by calligraphy teachers when annotating students’ work. It is also a common color for lacquerware.

Shu is one color to catch the Western visitor’s eye, but Japan has many more traditional hues. Murasaki (purple) was long the color of clothes worn by the ruling class. In the Heian period (794–1185), the pale purple of fuji (wisteria) became prominent, in part through association with the powerful Fujiwara clan. Author Sei Shōnagon repeatedly praises the flower in her classic Heian collection The Pillow Book, as when she includes “long, richly colored clusters of wisteria blossom hanging from a pine tree” in her list of “splendid things.”

The Heian aristocracy’s keen interest in color is epitomized in the jūni hitoe ensemble worn by ladies of the court. The name literally means “12 layers,” but the number was not fixed and could reach as high as 20. The colors were visible at the sleeves and hems, where progressively shorter layers overlapped, and matching them aesthetically was a fine art. There were complex rules about what colors were suitable for each layer based on the season, the occasion, and the wearer.

A contemporary equivalent to the rule-makers of the past may perhaps be the organization that runs the Shikisai Kentei, a popular test of color knowledge. By creating multiple choice questions for budding designers and artists in a range of fields, it acts as a force for standardization. This includes quizzing test-takers on exact shades for traditional colors as defined by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee.

Standardization makes life easier, but the pleasures of language lie in its idiosyncrasies. Although it may seem odd to native-English learners that traffic lights are “blue,” accepting this encourages a new viewpoint on the world. Each new point of knowledge about a different culture represents a small step along the road to a broader perspective.

[with image]

A Palette of Traditional Japanese Colors

beni (crimson) moegi (yellowish green)
momo (peach) hanada (light blue)
shu (vermilion) ai (indigo)
daidai (orange) ruri (lapis lazuli)
yamabuki (kerria) fuji (wisteria)
uguisu (bush warbler) nezumi (mouse)

Note: This table displays shades defined by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee. Historically the colors may have varied widely, especially when named after dyes, where the process can greatly affect the final color. They may also vary on different monitors. Not all have common English names."
srg  japanese  japan  color  blue  green  meaning  significance  symbols  words  language  names  change 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Color Goes Electric - Triple Canopy
"Greener grass, bluer skies: How photography came to capture the world that we want to see, and how our memories have been fashioned by industry."



"Interviewers at polling stations in malls and other locations around the US and overseas would invite consumers to examine images in return for a modest fee or token gift. Certain predilections became clear: Almost all viewers preferred films with finer grain structures. Caucasians tended to prefer skin that appeared tanner in reproduction than in reality, although opinion varied slightly according to region; for example, those on the West Coast generally preferred rosier skin tones. At different times of year, test subjects often selected somewhat different balances of warm and cool colors. They were also picky about the hue of the sky at the horizon; when shown a pair of photographs, one with an accurately reproduced horizon—in which the color might be almost white, due to a high degree of light-scattering by the atmosphere—and one with a horizon nearly
as saturated with blue as the sky overhead, consumers reported that the latter “looked right.” The strongest, most consistent finding among all subjects was a strong preference for bright, snappy versions of well-known colors, with saturations far exceeding their actual colorimetric values.
None of this was any surprise to Kodak, where photographic researchers had been studying such preferences for a number of years. As Kodak researcher C. James Bartleson explained in 1960, in his foundational essay “Memory Colors of Familiar Objects,” skin, grass, sky, and other “objects with which we have frequent visual experience” are indelibly imprinted in our memory. Memory colors are hues that we can recall easily, and thus they would seem to provide the imaging industry with a straightforward heuristic for judging accuracy; for example, slight hue shifts toward green or purple in the familiar color of flesh are immediately detectable to the human eye. But Bartleson found that test subjects consistently remembered the saturation of familiar colors with exaggerated intensity, or to be “more characteristic of the dominant chromatic attribute

of the object in question.” In other words, “grass was more green, bricks more red.” Rather than increasing accuracy, our familiarity breeds a kind of mnemonic distortion. And because most people consider themselves quite capable of judging the colors in photographs “taken by people other than themselves, of objects that they have never seen, at times when they were not present,” as the scientist R. W. G. Hunt puts it, the crucial industrial mandate in photographic color reproduction is accordance with memory, not reality. Thus the technologies that record our memories have been materially imbued with memory’s subtle alterations."



"In 1981, five years after MoMA’s Eggleston show, New York’s International Center for Photography mounted a group show called “The New Color Photography.” In addition to Eggleston, the exhibition featured such artists as Stephen Shore, Jan Groover, Joel Sternfeld, and William Christenberry, all of whom had put on prominent solo shows in the previous decade. A movement was afoot, and it was time to gather its adherents and make a canon, under the informal rubric of “newness.”

In her catalogue essay, curator Sally Eauclaire attempted to account for some of the aesthetic issues that may have previously militated against the acceptance of color photography in the art world. Film’s “exaggeration of subject hue” was one problem, because it “gave the medium an aura of vulgarity.” Color photography had an unfortunate inclination “to alter rather than duplicate the world’s colors, producing extravagantly lush, festive hues from less flamboyant sources.” But Eauclaire believed that a decisive shift had occurred in the 1970s, after color photographers “modified their traditional naturalistic priorities . . . by careful framing of a selected section of the world,” and in so doing “learned to anticipate and enlist color film’s hue exaggerations.”

Others argued that the admission of color photography into the rarefied realm of fine art had more to do with the medium’s evolving capacity to depict the world accurately—that the removal of various technical obstacles led to images that seemed more acceptably natural. But, in fact, the attainable level of saturation in color films increased throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s; Kodak and Fuji battled for market dominance, with Kodak’s engineers amping up the chromatic effects and Fuji developing its own films that were popular for their hypersaturated, nearly psychedelic colors, which even entailed occasional “mistakes” in the rendering of memory colors. In the accounts of imaging scientists, during that time period, both consumers and professionals in preference testing always asked for as much (credible) saturation as the scientists could squeeze from the chemical medium—and scientists delivered. So if there was no quantum leap in color film development from the 1960s to the 1970s, just the same struggle to increase color as much as possible within the naturalness constraint, how did color come to seem more “natural” under the skeptical, unforgiving light of the white cube? As Malcolm wrote in her Eggleston review, the American visual environment was now full of “recently made structures, machines, and objects; by people dressed in clothes of the cheap, synthetic democratic sort; by the signs and the leavings of fast food, fast gas, fast obsolescence.” Fast, cheap—and bright.

What has been considered synthetic, exaggerated, or natural in color photography only reflects our preferences, our ideas about the desirability of a look. These received forms have become pure content, since classic analog-era looks can now be applied to any digital image at all. Numerous programs and apps have experimented with algorithmic simulations of specific film products that had so carefully mediated between preference and pleasingness, between the naturalness constraint and the constraint of chemical materials. Instagram’s early filters were designed to mimic degraded analog renderings as a means of masking the obvious errors of poor-quality first-generation phone cameras, but no longer: As one Instagram engineer says, their objective now is “just to figure out what’s pretty.”

In 1971, Stephen Shore, one of the “New Color” photographers, decided to shoot pictures of the decidedly unglamorous town of Amarillo, Texas, and produce postcards from the resulting urban landscapes. He sent his images to a professional postcard printer in upstate New York. Though the summer heat had yellowed the grass in front of the Amarillo courthouse, the postcard edition depicted it as green. And though Shore shot his image of a local barbecue joint on a cloudy day, the printed card showed a brilliant blue peeking out from behind the clouds. Rather than complain about the distortions that the printers had wrought on his work, Shore shrugged it off, explaining to a curator years later that the printers “never asked, they just did it. They’re the pros. They know how postcards should look.”
film  photography  filmprocessing  2016  clairelehmann  color  colors  colorphphotography  memory  history  williameggleston  kodak  agfa  vilemflusser  eastmankodak  ansco  art  jamesbartleson  humanfactors  vision  rwghunt  blue  green 
june 2016 by robertogreco
All About Yves: The Story of International Klein Blue | Departures
"What we talk about when we talk about “Yves Klein Blue,” the shocking hue of ultramarine created by Yves Klein.

In her collection Bluets, the poet and art critic Maggie Nelson writes about visiting London and seeing Propositions Monochromes, a collection of objects and canvases painted by Yves Klein in 1957. The only color used was a shade of ultramarine. Three years later, Klein would submit that color, under the name International Klein Blue (IKB), to the French patent office, resulting in patent number 63471. Nelson writes:

Standing in front of these blue paintings, or propositions, at the Tate, feeling their blue radiate out so hotly that it seemed to be touching, perhaps even hurting, my eyeballs, I wrote but one phrase in my notebook: too much.

Writers have reported seeing IKB appear in runway shows in the last decade, citing collections by Diane von Furstenburg, Giorgio Armani, and Proenza Schouler. The problem is that International Klein Blue isn’t a color you can spot—it’s a process. Unless you are standing in front of a work by Klein, or visiting an art-supply store in Paris, you’re not looking at it.

Klein started painting ultramarine monochromes in the late ’40s but entered the ’50s dissatisfied with his results. Soon after his first exhibition 60 years ago, Klein began working with an art supplier in Paris named Edouard Adam, looking to create a blue that was evading him. As he wrote in an unpublished paper, quoted in Philip Ball’s book Bright Earth, Klein was struggling with the fixatives used to turn powder into pigments: “The affective magic of the color had vanished. Each grain of powder seemed to have been extinguished individually by the glue or whatever material was supposed to fix it to the other grains as well as to the support.” With the help of Adam and the chemical manufacturer Rhône-Poulenc, Klein found a synthetic resin called Rhodopas M60A in 1956. When combined with an ultramarine pigment, this colorless medium allowed the powder to retain what Klein described as “pure energy,” which may be what Nelson experienced as “too much.”

In 2011 I had an encounter
 with muchness in Nice, Klein’s main home until his death in 1962, at the age of 34. After missing a flight to Paris, I ended up in the city on a brutally sunny day. I wandered away from the airport, walked up a hill, and found Nice’s largest modern-art museum, MAMAC. The MAMAC was showing a piece made in 1960 at Klein’s apartment, a solid sheet of ultramarine covered in white handwriting. It was the manifesto of Nouveau Réalisme, a brief, not entirely coherent artistic movement named in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany, Klein’s friend. I wasn’t that interested in what the collective was up to—they were kaput by 1970 and I had managed to be invested in 20th-century art without ever hearing of them. I walked past the manifesto, directly into more Klein. A branch, about two feet high, was standing on end. It was painted entirely in IKB. Next to that sat a dusty pyramid of IKB pigment. I felt the color reach into me and coat my nerves. I had never understood the alleged intensity of monochromes in art, yet here I was, in love with a color and unaware it had its own name.

You can go, right now, to Adam Montmartre (96 Rue Damrémont; 33-1/46-06-60-38), a shop in Paris established in 1898 by Adam’s grandfather Gaston and now maintained by his nephew, Fabien, after his death this past February. You could buy a one-liter or five-liter jar of Le Medium Adam25 and make your own pile or mix it with a medium and paint with it. This would be a genuine encounter with International Klein Blue, but because of the rules laid down by the Klein estate, you wouldn’t be able to refer to it as Klein blue. This is confusing, as Klein himself enlisted Adam to create IKB—which is what a jar of Le Medium Adam25 is—but the estates of dead artists tend to be less flexible than the whims of living artists.

Designer Valeria McCulloch, who once claimed that she wears only Klein blue, and France Telecom, which sold a phone in 1998 under the name Klein blue, are only two of many acting under a categorical delusion that is perhaps the most generative part of Klein’s patent. All these dresses and phones simply embody various shades of bleu d’outremer—ultramarine. France Telecom was sued by the Klein estate, as it was using the name “Klein” for commercial purposes, but otherwise the Klein estate does not legally disabuse people of thinking they are printing things in Klein blue or wearing Klein blue as long as they keep the name Klein out of it. (Hence, the Adam Montmartre shop selling “Adam25” and not “Klein blue.”) You cannot patent a color. The 1960 patent covers only a chemical procedure that fixes ultramarine pigment in a certain way and connects it to a family name.

Hold a jar of IKB and you see something lighter and more intense than all the other things you thought were Klein blue. This is not so surprising, as you’re not looking at paint but at powdery granules coated with polyvinyl acetate: the undiluted form of Klein’s blue energy. This is part of Klein’s cockeyed triumph. His arrogance was unchecked, but his idea ended up more than just conceptual tomfoolery. The idea of chasing the great blue monochrome came to him as a teenager, when he “signed the sky” while lying on a beach in Nice. The color he ended up fixing on had a universal appeal, even as he struggled to make it unique to him. Klein’s work hasn’t started flipping like Basquiats, and we aren’t seeing more museum retrospectives for Klein than for any of his con- temporaries. Klein simply helped make ultramarine popular and led people to believe they loved a color they may have never seen. This is logical. It’s fun to think a person claimed a color, turning the mundane into something you can root for and be slightly snooty about: “This color is a famous blue, not just blue.” And IKB does, empirically, live on; anyone can buy the pigment, which is where Klein’s concept turns back on itself. For a painter, using IKB would be an act of reappropriation, like writing a song using one of Sonic Youth’s guitar tunings. An artist using Adam25 is in Klein’s country, working around and against his rules. So many of the artists who might paint with Klein blue likely won’t, and the people confessing their love for IKB are talking about a different color. And it’s a lovely confusion."
yvesklein  blue  internationalkleinblue  ikb  2015  shashafrere-jones  color  colors  art  1957  lemediumadam25  ultramarine  reappropriation  confusion 
march 2016 by robertogreco
The Propaganda of Pantone: Colour and Subcultural Sublimation — LOKI
"Questions of representation are central to the practice of graphic design. An understanding of who we are speaking for, and who we are speaking to, is the starting point of any design brief. It is through this role of mediation, expressed as aesthetic form, that design enacts its power and responsibility. However, this mediation often happens uncritically, guided by a designer’s intuition, stylistic trends, and the instrumental framework of marketing and PR concerns. A multiplicity of factors, conscious and unconscious, play into a designer’s aesthetic choices of imagery, typography, composition and colour. And as much as some might argue to the contrary, none of these choices are neutral.

In the case of colour, Pantone Inc. holds incredible influence with their increasingly marketed and mediatised Colour of the Year campaigns. Purportedly determined through a prescient reading of the cultural zeitgeist (by a select cabal of colour specialists), it is important to understand that the company, and the industry it serves, have their own specific interests and agendas that drive these selections. Pantone’s choice of “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity” as the 2016 Colour of the Year is the most insidious move by this colour-industrial-complex since “Blue Iris” in 2008. As with “Blue Iris”, Pantone has once again mined the subcultural landscape and used their monopoly within the creative industries to propagate their colour properties to the world.

From IK Blue to Blue Iris

Pantone was on point in 2008, presenting a slightly muted version of the IK Blue (International Klein)/RGB Blue trend that evolved out of the Dutch “default design” approach of the early 2000s. Default design advocated against the smooth surfaces of graphic professionalism, employing low-res imagery, system fonts, crude layouts, and the standard web link hex-colour #0000FF. It incorporated a self-referential criticism into its aesthetic, and the prominent use of RGB Blue became a clear signifier of this. The colour was carried forward with the emergence of a vaguely defined “critical graphic design” aesthetic, shifting between Default, IK, and Reflex Blue, and it was often used monochromatically, in large flat swathes that were both vivid and jarring.

Though IK Blue and RGB Default Blue are not the same, their intense visceral effect is similar, stemming from the colours’ physical/digital materiality; Klein’s blue was unique due to the synthetic resin binder which allowed the pigment to maintain its clarity, whereas Default Blue is as pure a blue as the RGB spectrum can achieve. Referenced in William Gibson’s 2010 novel Zero History, the character Hubertus Bigend has a suit made entirely of material in IK Blue. He states that he wears this because the intensity of the colour makes other people uncomfortable, and because he is amused by the difficulty of reproducing the colour on a computer monitor. Gibson, an astute cultural observer, used this reference to acknowledge its avant-garde popularity while pointing to the inherent subversive quality of the colour.

The mainstreaming of “Blue Iris” by Pantone softened the subversive punch of IK Blue (which by 2008 was already an identifiable commodity in contemporary art and fashion circles), further bolstering its popularity amongst designers and the consumer population at large.

Rose Quartz and Serenity

“Rose Quartz” and “Serenity” (hereafter abbreviated as RQ+S) present a far more nefarious situation. There’s no doubt that Pantone’s trend forecasters/cool hunters are once again on point (much more so than last year’s Marsala), yet anyone who has spent a little too much time on Tumblr over the last few years probably could have seen this coming. The tonal pink and blue palette has been growing exponentially in popularity online since the emergence (circa 2010-11), purported death (circa 2012), and expanding influence of the micro-cultures of Seapunk, and its successor, Vaporwave, as part of a more broadly defined subculture of internet-fuelled art employing what can be described as a Tumblr aesthetic.

The popular use of these colours, and specifically their combined usage, has emerged out of a tumultuously contested subcultural space. Pantone’s conceptual framing of RQ+S is disingenuous at best, and once one digs a little deeper, can be seen to represent a clearly reactionary political force."



"Vaporwave: The Jester in the King’s Court

Vaporwave has been hailed as Seapunk’s successor, though it actually emerged in parallel, with less dolphins, and a more mature theoretical grounding. The dolphins have been replaced by renderings of the assorted detritus of techno-capitalism; anachronistic corporate logos, dead media formats, GUI elements, and perspective grids. Musically, the genre samples and remixes the corporate soundscape; elevator and on-hold music, the piped-in pop of shopping malls and office lobbies, smooth jazz, easy listening and motivational new age harmonies. Vaporwave differentiates itself from Seapunk through its critical self-awareness, and it is far more intentional in how it employs its parodic kitsch aesthetics. It is darkly cynical and sickly sweet, exemplified by artist and label names such as The Pleasure Centre, New Dreams Ltd., Fortune 500, Business Casual or Condo Pets.

Analysis of the genre points to Vaporwave operating within what can be described as an accelerationist framework; expanding, repurposing and exaggerating the technosocial processes of capitalism in order to provoke radical social change. Its saccharine caricature of corporate culture engages whole-heartedly with the alienating nostalgia of the post-authentic, playing the role of the jester in the king’s court, or acting as a hall of mirrors in the funhouse enclosures of capital. Its tactics have abandoned confrontational resistance to instead lubricate the symbolic ground upon which capitalism stands, and offer it a series of gentle, yet insistent, nudges.

In 2015, in a desperate attempt to stay relevant, MTV (a Viacom International Inc. company) rebranded with a full-on Vaporwave aesthetic and the Orwellian tagline “I am my MTV”. Undoubtedly counselled by agency customer-engagement experts it was as transparent as it was blatant. Their VMA campaign promos featured Miley Cyrus gesticulating in front of a green screen, enticing the public to fill in the blank(ness) with their unpaid labour. The crowd-sourced results feel tepid at best, with a significant percentage of the content created by agencies and design studios, most-likely commissioned by MTV. And within all of the internet-y visual chaos, a smooth and uniform surface reappears. In spite of this co-option, or perhaps due to it, the Vaporwave aesthetic continues to evolve and expand, within the not so hidden corners of subreddits, and to mutate and accelerate, parading on the front lines of fashion.

It is not my intention to ascribe any sort of authorial/authoritative origin story to this recombinant aesthetic. Popular style emerges from a confluence of tendencies and cultural currents. The lineage of afro-futurist visual culture and contemporary afro-punk fashion have had a significant influence on the development of this aesthetic. Singular artists such as MIA, with her groundbreaking 2005 album Arular and the entirety of her oeuvre since, also provides a prescient cultural touchstone. Japanese kawaii purikura (photobooths), and their viral app counterparts, exemplify how software tools are often indivisible from the aesthetic culture they create and contribute to. And within graphic design, the trajectory of Metahaven's work (and that of their Werkplaats acolytes), with its disordered and distorted forms, photoshop filters and powerpoint layouts, alongside healthy doses of IK Blue and digital debris, can be read as a palimpsest of the overlapping layers that have come to define the look and feel of these times."



"#aesthetic

Tumblr has proven to be a nurturing (though certainly not safe) space for the circulation of subcultural and counter-cultural interests, and the ideas and imagery of these feminist currents run in parallel, overlap and intersect with the aforementioned micro-cultures on the platform. Of course, the diversity of content posted on Tumblr is inherently limitless, yet nonetheless cohesive aesthetic tendencies emerge, reflecting the interests and aspirations of its most avid users. The term "aesthetic" itself has come to represent a specific genre of imagery on Tumblr that can be easily identified as the subcultural inspiration for RQ+S.

We are presented with a visual landscape of soft pinks and blues, a post-ironic poetics articulated through memes, digital art, selfies, and threaded "ask me anything" conversations. Taken as a whole, there is an undeniable ebullient softness to it, but roiling just beneath the surface is a crystalline anger directed at the way things are, be it gender normativity, the surveillance state, or good old-fashioned capitalist alienation. The emergence of this Tumblr #aesthetic represents the reclamation of symbolic vocabulary from the realm of commodity production, placing it back into the hands of the young, the feminine, the marginal."
aesthetics  art  design  culture  pantone  2016  2015  2008  mtv  webrococo  mia  softness  kawaii  afropunk  metahaven  williamgobson  ikb  internationalkleinblue  blue  seapunk  tumblr  subcultures  gra[hicdesign  graphics  rosequartz  blueiris  vaporwave  rgbdefaultblue  zerohistory  web  online  internet  vma  yvesklein 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Manual Issue 4: Blue | e-flux
"Indigo blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, zaffre blue, indanthrone blue, phthalo blue, cyan blue, Han blue, French blue, Berlin blue, Prussian blue, Venetian blue, Dresden blue, Tiffany blue, Lanvin blue, Majorelle blue, International Klein Blue, Facebook blue. The names given to different shades of blue speak of plants, minerals, and modern chemistry; exoticism, global trade, and national pride; capitalist branding and pure invention. The fourth issue of Manual is a meditation on blue. From precious substance to controllable algorithm to the wide blue yonder, join us as we leap into the blue. 

From the Files: Curatorial assistant A. Will Brown discusses color theory of Joseph Albers’s Homage to the Square series, revealing notations on the back of the canvases. 

Double Takes: Curator Dominic Molon and cognitive scientist Karen Schloss illuminate the perceptual play of a Dan Flavin light sculpture; conservator Ingrid Neumann and curator Lawrence Berman unearth the matter and meaning of the ancient pigments in an Egyptian paintbox; art historian Margot Nishimura and paper preservation specialist Linda Catano look closely at the exquisite details and hues of a 15th-century manuscript illumination. 

Object Lessons: Curator Kate Irvin provides a tactile archaeology of the faded shades of indigo of a Japanese boro garment. Louis van Tilborgh and Oda van Maanen of the Van Gogh Museum examine the dominant blues and disappearing violets of van Gogh’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise. 

Portfolio: A survey of blue from azure to zaffre. 

How To: Curator Elizabeth A. Williams illuminates the history of blue and white porcelain. Photographer Anna Strickland discusses Anna Atkins’s early cyanotypes. 

Artists on Art: Artist Spencer Finch presents a tear-out color study. Author Maggie Nelson considers an Alice Neel’s portrait. Graphic designer Jessica Helfand mixes Facebook blue with the cyanotype process."
blue  color  colors  indigo  josefalbers  awillbrown  dominicmolon  karenscholes  danflavin  ingridneumann  lawrenceberman  margotnishimura  lindacatano  kateirvin  louisvantilborgh  odavanmaanen  vangogh  elizabethwilliams  annastrickland  annaatkins  maggienelson  aliceneel  jessicahelfand  cyanotypes  glvo  boro  yvesklein  ikb  toread  2015  internationalkleinblue 
march 2015 by robertogreco
BOMB Magazine — Portfolio by Juliette Bonneviot: XenoEstrogens (the Disappearing Male)
"Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that are said to mimic Estrogen.

They just happen to look like Estrogen. They come from a myriad of origins—organic, mineral, synthetic. Some of them seem to be much older than any mammal's Estrogen ever existing.

Here are a few samples of my extensive collection.

“This is the agency of assemblages: the distinctive efficacy of a working whole made up, variously, of somatic, technological, cultural, and atmospheric elements.” Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things.

Red Xenoestrogens:

* Cadmium pigments have highly superior lightfastness. Mostly found in plastic coloring, architectural paints, they have remained incredibly vibrant through the ages in classical paintings.

* E127 Erythrosine B is a beautiful red food coloring.

* Copper, copper ions destroy chemical structures with ease.

* Silicone rubber does not stick to many substrates but adheres very well to others. It is flame resistant.

Yellow Xenoestrogens

* Soya Beans. Soya plants produce a chemical compound similar to Estrogen to control the fertility of mammals. This Xenoestrogen disrupt the mechanism of their estrogen binding receptors.

* Tin is malleable and resists corrosion from water. It’s used as a protective coat for other metals. Without tin, PVC would rapidly degrade under heat, light, and atmospheric oxygen.

* Copper is present here in the form of a pesticide.

* Antimony is a useful alloy with lead to increase its hardness and strength.

* Cadmium is used in batteries and has reportedly been found in wonton soup in Chinese street food.

* Phthalates, plasticizers are here present in wood lacquer.

* Linen comes from the flax plant. It is one of the preferred traditional supports for oil painting.

Blue Xenoestrogens

* Aluminum is light weight and resistant to corrosion.

* Cobalt has been used since ancient times in paint and decorative objects.

* Silicone rubber. Silicones are present on us, from our personal care products and in us from the oil of most deep-fried fast food.

Earth-Colored Xenoestrogens

* Flaxseeds and sesame seeds. Those plants produce the same kind of xenohormone as the soya plant, as a defense against the overpopulation of herbivorous animals.

* Zearaleone is a mycoestrogen. This is a mushroom that lives in seeds; it can permeate the human skin. Mushrooms are genetically closer to animals than to plants.

* Bisphenol A, here present in epoxy resin, makes plastic hard and unbreakable, while remaining soft and flexible. It is found in the coating of food cans. Before its current use, it was developed in the early 1930s as an artificial estrogen intended for use in fertility treatments.

* Linen.

Gray Xenoestrogens

* Lead is known for its powerful opaque whiteness. It was the principal white pigment used in classical oil painting and later in architectural paint.

* BE320 BHA antioxidant in food.

* E310 propyl gallate antioxidant in food.

* Oestradiol contraceptive pills.

* Aluminum.

* Silicone rubber.



Juliette Bonneviot (b. 1983, Paris, France) graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2008, she lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include Minimal Jeune Fille, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2014). Recent group exhibitions include nature after nature, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2014); Nostalgia, CCA, Glasgow International (2014); Art Post-Internet, UCCA, Beijing (2014); the 12th Lyon Biennale (2013); Analogital, Utahmoca, Salt Lake City (2013). Upcoming exhibitions include Looks, ICA, London (2015), Juliette Bonneviot, Autocenter, Berlin (2015)."
juliettebonneviot  art  color  xenoestrogens  estrogen  janebennett  red  yellow  feminism  gender  ecology  science  blue  earth-colored  gray 
january 2015 by robertogreco
BBC - Culture - Yves Klein: The man who invented a colour
"“The genius of Klein is becoming more and more apparent,” says Catherine Wood, Tate Modern’s curator of contemporary art and performance. “He has been dismissed by some art historians as a charlatan or – because of his use of naked female models – as conventional and sexist, but his strategies were playfully critical and are becoming more significant in their influence for the younger generation. It could be argued that he was a critical prankster on par with Duchamp.”

Expanding the spectrum

For all his influence on conceptual art, though, Klein was most preoccupied with colour. As early as 1956, while on holiday in Nice, he experimented with a polymer binder to preserve the luminescence and powdery texture of raw yet unstable ultramarine pigment. He would eventually patent his formula as International Klein Blue (IKB) in 1960.

Before that, though, he made his name with an exhibition held in Milan in January 1957 that included 11 of his unframed, identical signature blue monochromes, one of which was bought by the Italian artist Lucio Fontana. This show ushered in what Klein called his “Blue Revolution”, and soon he was slapping IKB onto all sorts of objects, such as sponges, globes and busts of Venus. Even his ‘living brushes’ dipped their flesh in IKB.

Art historians still debate the significance of Klein’s use of ultramarine. For some, it represented a break with angst-ridden abstraction, which was popular in the wake of World War II. Painted mechanically using a roller, Klein’s flat, blank monochromes seemed to rebuff expressionist art.

For other scholars, though, Klein’s depthless monochromes and obsession with ‘the void’ can be understood as expressions of the threat of nuclear holocaust. “We absolutely must realise – and this is no exaggeration – that we are living in the atomic age,” Klein once said, “where all physical matter can vanish from one day to the next to surrender its place to what we can envision as the most abstract.”

Yet perhaps his love of blue is less specific and more profound. Klein was a pious Catholic, and in religious art blue often represents eternity and godliness. For instance, Giotto, whom Klein admired, was a brilliant advocate of blue. Klein’s ultramarine monochromes are not overtly Christian, but he certainly used the sensuousness of IKB to suggest spirituality. As he once said, “At first there is nothing, then there is a profound nothingness, after that a blue profundity.”

Certainly, his rich, radiant monochromes share a singular characteristic: they all have a vertiginous quality that seems to suck us out of reality towards another, immaterial dimension. The effect of looking at them is not dissimilar to meditating upon a deep azure sky – something that Klein perhaps intuited as a young man, on that beach in Nice in 1947.



When considering Klein, then, it is important to remember that for all his stunts and attention-grabbing performances he was a sensualist as much as a provocateur – and that this accounts for his fondness for colour. “For Klein, pure colour offered a way of using art not as a means of painting a picture, but as a way of creating a spiritual, almost alchemical experience, beyond time, approaching the immaterial,” explains Kerry Brougher, who curated the major retrospective Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, in 2010.

“Out of all the colours Klein used, ultramarine blue became the most important. Unlike many other colours, which create opaque blockages, ultramarine shimmers and glows, seemingly opening up to immaterial realms. Klein’s blue monochromes are not paintings but experiences, passageways leading to the void.”"
yvesklein  blue  art  history  color  ikb  internationalkleinblue  2014  arthistory 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Internet, Why So Blue? - The Awl
"His version of the internet is profoundly blue, bluer than any internet before, for a reason he didn't realize was personal until long after the decision was made. It had been fortunate for him, a young citizen of the internet, that links, traditionally, are blue. But why are links blue? Did he ever ask?

The man who invented links was writing them to a grayscale screen. The first popular browser, Mosaic, later turned links blue because it was the darkest color available at the time that wasn't black; they needed to stand out, but only just. Blue was the best alternative. Blue always survives the focus group. Blue wins the a/b test. Which is convenient, because blue is usually already there.

Why is the internet blue? The internet is blue because… the atmosphere? And gases. The internet is blue because of its air and its Sun. The internet is blue because the internet is blue, and it's time to go to school. Maybe they'll tell you there."
internet  color  colors  blue  2014  google  instagram  tumblr  twitter  linkedin  microsoft  facebook  johnherrman 
june 2014 by robertogreco
French Bees Produce Blue Honey | TIME.com
"Since August, beekeepers near the town of Ribeauville, in the northeastern region of Alsace, have been reporting their bees are producing blue and green honey, according to Reuters. And they’ve traced the cause back to a biogas plant that processes waste from an M&Ms factory."
blue  honey  animals  factories  m&ms  2012  bees 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Smithsonian's First Photographer - a set on Flickr
"Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1843, Thomas William Smillie immigrated to the United States with his family when he was five years old. After studying chemistry and medicine at Georgetown University, he took a job as a photographer at the Smithsonian Institution, where he stayed until his death in 1917. Smillie’s duties included documenting important events and research trips, photographing the museum’s installations and specimens, and creating reproductions for use as printing illustrations. He also served as the head and curator of the photography lab. Smillie’s documentation of each Smithsonian exhibition and installation resulted in an informal record of all of the institution’s art and artifacts and also serves as a visual history of the Institution. The majority of these photographs are housed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

To learn more about archives and the Smithsonian's history, visit THE BIGGER PICTURE. To view more collections from the Smithsonian, visit the Collection Search Center."
smithsonian  history  photography  thomaswilliamsmillie  blue 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Distinguishing blue from green in language - Wikipedia
"The English language makes a distinction between blue and green, but some languages do not. Of these, quite a number, mostly in Africa, do not distinguish blue from black either, while there are a handful of languages that do not distinguish blue from black but have a separate term for green.[1] Also, some languages treat light (often greenish) blue and dark blue as separate colors, rather than different variations of blue, while English does not."

[via: http://bobulate.com/post/21832744467/everything-you-know-lost-in-translation ]
blue  languages  linguistics  perception  green  psychology  color  language 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Everything you know lost in translation - Bobulate
"Japanese used to have a color word, ao, that spanned both green and blue. In the modern language, however, ao has come to be restricted mostly to blue shades, and green is usually expressed by the word midori (although even today ao can still refer to the green of freshness or unripeness — green apples, for instance, are called ao ringo). when the first traffic lights were imported from the United States and installed in Japan in the 1930s, they were just as green as anywhere else. Nevertheless, in common parlance the go light was dubbed ao shingoo, perhaps because the three primary colors on Japanese artists’ palettes are traditionally aka (red), kiiro (yellow), and ao. The label ao for a green light did not appear so out of the ordinary at first, because of the remaining associations of the word ao with greenness.

But over time, the discrepancy between the green color and the dominant meaning of the word ao began to feel jarring. Nations with a weaker spine might have opted for…"
history  symbolism  symbols  description  guydeutscher  language  color  blue  green  lizdanzico  japanese  translation 
april 2012 by robertogreco

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