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"science" Category


HEAD JEWELRY


Monday, December 1, 2014

Vaclav Cigler is a czech artist mostly known for his pioneering work in glass. Since the 1950s, Cigler has focused on glass sculpture and is still today considered as one of the preeminent artists working in glass. My interest in his work though did not develop from one of his glass sculptures but from an image of a mannequin head wearing a mysterious head jewelry exhibited in Stedelijk Museum.

Head Jewelry by Václav Cigler[x]

The jewelry consists of two galvanised brass circles put together, one that is fitting the circumference of the head and one attached to the other and placed in front of the face. The placing of the circle in front of the face affects the vision of the person wearing the jewelry. It becomes a frame through which the person watch the surroundings and in that way it changes and disturbs the perception. Furthermore the circled brass acts like mirrors: when angled, it gives the wearer a view of the room or of the people around which allows the possibility of intimate eye contact or covert observation. Imagining a lot of people walking around with this jewelry in the context of today it easily could be considered as some sort of electronic device attached to the head with a chip improving human possibilities. Or it could be a future, simplified version of virtual reality glasses having an invisible screen circled around the head. Especially the aspect of the mirror in the circle makes it relatable to virtual reality where the people around and the room then adapts into the screen of the virtual reality so it becomes this interaction between physical- and virtual reality.

When looking through some of Cigler’s work in glass it becomes clear that he is very interested in the human perception. That is also one of the reasons for his consistent interest in the work with glass because it is possible to create a new and different vision in that medium.

“…Glass is the most imaginative material that man has ever created. The presence of glass in a human space conditions not only the space itself but also an as the user. Glass is for me a pretext for expressing a different spatial and emotional perception of the world. A perception made unique by the optical means offered by this material, as well as by the new possibilities for using it in space… in glass, there’s the authenticity of the material, the discovery that it has uncommon optical and material properties, such as malleability. Glass by itself is a sufficient source of inspiration.”

Vane 2008 by Václav Cigler [x]

The sculpture “Vane” made in 2009 is an optical glass with an aperture in the center that gives an undistorted view of the landscape. A new visual perspective is given and what is seen is a collage space of reality.

In 1960 the phrase “Cyborg” was coined in a story called “Cyborgs and Space” and was used to describe a human being augmented with technological attachments which I find very interesting to put in relation with Cigler’s Head Jewelry. Manfred Clynes, being the inventor of the word cyborg, considered it as more human which is a contradiction to how it is generally perceived as something inhuman. But there is something interesting towards understanding or maybe even accepting a direct interaction between organisms and technology in order to enlarge the human experience.

You can question the definition of a cyborg and maybe this is also what Clynes is already pointing out; are all humans cyborgs? We do include both organic and inorganic subsystems. Inorganic systems being for instance prosthetic limbs or vaccinations that program the immune system in our bodies. At least it could be argued that we are living a cyborgian existence. A cyborg society has developed where the connection between organic and machine systems is extremely complex and inescapable.

A more direct example of a cyborg, or maybe as direct as most people would understand the definition of a cyborg, is Neil Harbisson. He is even considered to be the world’s first cyborg with an antenna attached to the back of his skull dangling over his forehead very similar to the shape of the head jewelry. Harbisson sees in grayscale but the antenna allows him to hear the color spectrum, even the colors that are beyond the range of human sight.

Neil_Harbisson_cyborgist

Neil Harbisson[x]

He considers his decision of becoming a cyborg as an artistic statement: “I’m treating my own body and brain as a sculpture”. He is working with human perception using his own body as medium whereas Cigler uses glass to create different perceptions. Moreover, Cigler viewed jewelry as landscape for the human body as a means of connecting the body with its environment. Harbisson is literary connected with his surroundings by having the antenna which he considers just as much a part of him as any other organ or body part. Aesthetically the two objects, Head Jewelry and Eyeborg (what Harbisson calls his antenna), look very alike with their minimalistic characteristic but also their function has a lot in common if not considering the advanced technological aspect of the Eyeborg. What is interesting is how much an object can become a part of a human being and if it is really possible to not consider it as an object but as an organ. This also leads back to an acceptance of this cyborgian society that is already a reality. If a person got used to wearing the head-jewelry and seeing the surroundings through it, that is, having extra angles and the capability of observing secretly would this jewelry then also be thought of as a body part?

“ants”


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Simply start scrolling from “A” until I find something that “pops”. Suddenly I come to this post, which makes me stay and actually read everything. I like when the science and academic world comes in together with design and art. Makes it interesting, and you learn new things and get a new insight. When you refer to natural things it is something everyone can relate to, and it makes you realize how present nature always is.

 

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 3.49.56 PM

 

Ants are fascinating creatures, which are used in design and art too. The way the post is written is good and easy read, you get introduced in the subject immediately. These kind of posts that refer to other “worlds” and facts makes me interested in researching new subjects and other media. When a text makes you think and reflect, it is a good text and it reminds you too keep your eyes open to different subjects and how they can relate. Personal opinions together with facts is a good combination.

If you search for words regarding science and nature in art context, some things and facts might surprise you, as did post gave me new insights. Even if it’s nice to read and discover new artists through the blog, there is something very interesting about posts that concern other things that are a bit far from what you usually come across.

 
steamengine
 

Therefore I suggest you not to just check the topics, but actually choose something a bit more random, or something that is far from your interest, as it could invoke something new in you. This blog offers many interesting topics, which are all worth to be explored. This post offers me a new perspective and curiosity to read further about the topic.

If you do as I did and don’t search for too specific subjects or are too picky and actually continue reading, you might get surprised of how many new insights one single post might give you.
 

The CMYK Colour Model


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

the CMYK colour model is short for cyan-magenta-yellow-key (black) and refers to all colours as mixtures of these four process colours. so, within this model, a colour would be described through the quotient of cyan, magenta, yellow and black that can be found in the mixture.

the CMYK colour model is predominantly used in the printing process and is often referred to as four-colour printing (which corresponds to the four inks used). in order to fully understand it, it is vital that we examine another colour model named RGB (red, green, blue) that is used in display devices such as computer monitors. so, whatever you see on a screen is in RGB. however, these colours can only be viewed with the aid of natural or produced light – making it impossible for documents to be printed as exact copies of what can be seen on a screen. this is why these documents must have their colours translated into CMYK prior to sending it to the printer.

all the heavily paraphrased information above seems to make sense on a superficial level, but in fact i find it all extremely perplexing and difficult to grasp. unfortunately i never learned the complex language of science and since it is awfully strenuous to translate a language one doesn’t understand, here is the even-more-technical-side explained by someone who seems to know what they are talking about:

“When two RGB colors are mixed equally they produce the colors of the CMYK model, known as subtractive primaries. green and blue creates cyan (C), red and blue creates magenta (M), and red and green creates yellow (Y). black is added to the model because it cannot be created with the 3 subtractive primaries (when combined they create a dark brown). The K, or “key,” stands for black.” (taken from here)

subtractive-colour_redu

upon my investigation, i found that the aspect of the CYMK colour model that i found most compelling was the simple fact that a countless amount of colours are but a mixture of four: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. this thought was inevitably on my mind for days proceeding my research.

 

//

the idea for a translation of the CYMK model came to me when i was listening to Billie holiday’s  1941 version of “am i blue?” over a cup of coffee. it started me off on a long trail of thought which went a little like this:

blue? blue?! how has blue come to mean a sad & melancholic mood or person?

although the colour blue is used to describe a specific feeling, colour can also be used to illustrate mood or atmosphere – for instance – in less direct ways. this is apparent in art, music, poetry, prose… but why do we associate certain moods or meanings with certain colours? and more even-more-generally: why do we often have the urge to illustrate colourless things through colour?

i am extremely fond of the randomness of this occurrence  the randomness of the colour blue (with all its different tones) being chosen to represent something that is beyond blue literally, as a colour, a sensory experience…

 

//

i had the idea of translating the CYMK colour system in a way that i made each colour (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) represent something different. and so i did. i decided that i was going to translate this system into a system that determined the “colour” of one’s day. first, i made a list of things that tend to have an effect on my day. then i selected the four that i felt have the most influence on the “mood” of my day. i proceeded to make them into questions (which can be answered on a scale of 1 to 10):

- how happy/satisfied are you with yourself today? (C)
- how well rested do you feel? (M)
- how good does today’s weather make you feel? (Y)
- how similar is today to yesterday? (K)

each of these questions substitute C, M, Y, and K accordingly. and when answered as a numeral value (from 1 to 10), i have the percentages i need to make a colour with the aid of photoshop. the system i’ve created is therefore a colour-determining tool.

i decided that the colour i’d silkscreen would be the result of my answers to the questions the morning after i created the system. my answers were 5, 5, 3, 1 and made into percentages as shown below:

 

 …and “the colour of my day” beside my silk-screened circle version:

 circle_redu

 

//

i knew that to develop my project further i’d have to send this survey around and ask people to fill it out. therefore, i made an online survey using a survey-making-website (which can be accessed here):

 

this website organized the data which i later used to determine individual colours for each of the 40 people world-wide who answered my survey on the 12th of december, 2013. i mapped out all 40 colours to illustrate the colours of one day, according to the answers of 40 people:

colour-system_redu

 

a problem i encountered on two occasions was that if 10 (being absolutely) was the answer to the last question: how similar is today to yesterday? (K), then the colour would be entirely black. since the other quotients would be cancelled out, i didn’t want this to happen. so instead, i set the percentage as 95% rather than 100%. even though both appear to be black anyway, i like the idea that there are still undertones of colour. and although it did not stay completely ‘honest’ to my original system – at the time i thought it would be a good compromise.

 

//

after i was done with the poster shown above, i decided to design a survey of my own (which i would put online and use if i were any good at computing):

i think through this translated colour system, i managed to play on the randomness of colour representations, but also create a functional and fun system (which also has the potential of becoming interactive).

colour-system_total_redu

 

A “light” summary of color


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When we think of light and colors the first thing we think of is the RGB color model.
The RGB color model is an additive model based on red, green and blue colored lights. When added together in various ways, they can produce a wide range of colors. The name of this system comes from the initials of red, green and blue.

HueSystemRGB The RGB color system’s main purpose is to display images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, although it’s also been used in conventional photography.

This system is based off of the Young-Helmholtz theory of trichromatic color vision. This is a theory developed by Thomas Young and Herman Helmholtz in the early to mid 19th century.

Trichromacy is a condition in which one has 3 channels to convey color information. Humans are trichromats. Each channel has a different absorption spectra, thus showing the viewer a different color. Young came up with this theory in 1802. Herman von Helmholtz brought the theory further in 1850 by classifying each wave length under the colors blue, green and red.

James Clerk Maxwell elaborated on this by creating a color triangle in 1860. He is the founder of color photography. He proposed in 1855 to take 3 black and white photographs and run them through red, green and blue filters. Each filter was projected on a different projector, and when superimposed, the human eye percieved a colored reproduction of the scene.

2474164072_d421085ba2_z The RGB system is also used for display screens, such as televisions or computers. Each pixel on the screen is built by driving three small and very close but still seperated RGB light sources. From a normal viewing distance the seperate colors are indistinguishable tricking the eye into seeing a solid color.

Here is a silkscreen print colour-wheel_White of a single colored circle made to represent the RGB color model. I chose to print the circle white because i felt that it would be the most accurate way to represent the entire system. The reason being, as you can see on the RGB color wheel, the combination of red, green and blue lights create a white light.

An other project I did was to create a projected piece based of the RGB system. I felt it would be interesting to base myself off the color wheel to create a less scientific but more abstract version of it.

These are the initial sketches I came up with: Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.51.42 AM

 

I ended up choosing this one sketch for my final piece. Because this is a theory purely based off light, it does not work if only on paper. I needed to find a way to implicate this color wheel to something involving light. Therefor, I decided to scan and project this color wheel to a wall. By using a projector, the piece based of light and thus appropriate for this system.

How ever, i felt this was not enough. So with Photoshop, I divided the piece into three by separating it into channels: Red, Green and Blue. This way, i could go back to the origins of this model which is based on the addition of those three colors.

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.51.20 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.51.57 AM Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.52.09 AM

After transferring these images into jpeg’s, I placed them into the iMovie software and created a short one second film. When running this film using a Quicktime loop, I created a gif.
Finally, this gif is then projected on a wall, completing the piece :

 

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Freaking contrast


Monday, February 3, 2014

Some time ago I heart about color theories. My focus was mostly on the color theory of Ewald Hering. He was a psychologist. As a psychologist, he was busy with the perception of color by people. He made a theory based on another theory. The theory of Helmholtz and Young. Young and Helmholtz said that there are three primary colors (red, green and blue) these are the basis for every color. But Ewald Hering made his own improved version of this theory of Young and Helmholtz.

               Ewald_Hering2   hering1

Ewalds color theory is about how color is perceived in the eye. The perception of color is (re)made in the brain. In the eye there is a layer which is sensitive for color, it is called the retina.

You have little cones in this layer of your eye. Every cone has its own function in relation to color. Each cone is sensitive to two colors. The cone has two colors that are opponents of each other. Red and green are together in a cone. As well as blue and yellow and as black and white. When a cone is being activated by for example red, green also reacts to that cone. In the cone there are nerves which pick up the signals of the colors and transport that to the brain.

eye

 

The introduction of the color yellow into the theory was very important. Hering said yellow was a primary color. We see yellow as a primary color in painting but in light it was new to use yellow as a primary color in color theory. Like in the theory of Helmholtz and Young, there yellow was said to be a mix of green en red.

The color is what makes Herings theory innovative for the time. He changed from three primary colors to four primary colors.

 Yellow

With his fourth primary color, the way the colors responded to each other had to be different. He made a theory for that which deals with opponent colors. Because the sensation of green and red together cannot be seen together in one color. (Reddish-green doesn’t exist). But his theory claims that they do have to interact with each other.

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I thought it was fascinating that someone could create a theory by thinking in a logical way. Because Ewald could not proof that Helmholtz and Young were wrong with their theory. He based his whole theory on the fact that he experienced that people could not see yellow as a mix of green and red.

colors

What I then tried was combining red and green light through 3D glasses. I thought I saw yellow but when I looked again, I just saw black. That might also have been caused by the method of using filters. When you put a red filter and then nothing else red goes through, if you then put a green filter it will go black.

I find Herings way of making a color theory a beautiful way of finding new things.

”Farbenkugel ”


Monday, February 3, 2014

Schermata 2014-02-06 a 22.57.12

Colors //

Philipp Otto Runge, born the 23 july 1777, died the 2 December 1810, he was a German Romantic Painter, friend of Goethe (that wrote a ”brick” book about colors; ”Theory of Colours”) in short, they shared the same interests. Runge dedicate his life on accurate, almost ”scientific”, drawings, painting and he dedicate him self on the studies of colours and creating a colours system.

For him there are three colors (blue, yellow and red) what he wanted to do is create the complete kind of colors resulting from the mixing of them, among them self and black and white. The result is a  sphere illustration similar to planet earth with two poles of black and white and colors are mixing each others in all direction and depth. The easy way to visualize his idea I think is to imagine it as a three-dimensional sphere that you can as well dissect (like an apple) and inside discover colors mixing among each other.

527px-Runge_Farbenkugel

What I appreciate on the ”Farbenkugel” is his ambition on creating a complete illustration of the relation between colors, and the obvious benefit that you can have from it.

With the fact that he is a painter you can see that his colour studies influenced the way he is handling colours (x;x) in his paintings that make me interested on choosing some of his paintings, simplify them and select some colours with the use of pastels, than be playful and let the process lead me to create something.

illustrazione-copy Philipp_Otto_Runge_005

 

The process//

First of all I selected some of his paintings and then I made some abstractions based on the similar color that you can see in his works, then I cut out parts, square and lines of the abstractions. Build forms and experiment and play around with them.

An interesting point of the “Farbenkugel”, if I´m not wrong, is that in the center of the sphere, or rather the core, all the colors are mixed and give black, I decide to pick a gray because of adding some white from the upper pole of the color sphere:

1903285_10151905931406314_1697678139_n

Actually, the more I was experimenting and trying out, the more I was getting insecure and confused.
Finally I decided to focus on the square selection and zoom/ abstraction of his painting.

Prova2-15_redu A2pastel

Prova2-9_reduprovaA2_redu

So I selected some of the more or less 5 x 6 cm cut outs, scanned them and printed them in A3. But then I still didn’t know what to do with them.

I questioned myself what should I do? So i pick up the camera and start filming but….

I was getting more lost and far from the original idea.

Whit this color system I must say that I learned to not underestimate or doubt the first idea, but go for it and finish it.
So this is a video clip showing the concept of extraction of colors on the first idea that I had, and if I followed correctly maybe I had some more image exemples…

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Lamp Science


Saturday, September 28, 2013

 

Gispen’s Giso lamp (model 24)

A lamp, a simple product. A lamp only needs to give light, you have to turn on the light and after that you don’t have to touch it anymore. So a product designer is not really limited to the function of it, except the fact that it must give light. Or is this not true? Despite of all the possibilities to create a decorative lamp, Willem Hendrik Gispen made a really minimalistic lamp, the ‘Giso Lamp’ []. Only a white opal glass shade and a frosted glass above it, but that simplicity, I think, is the power of it. Willem Hendrik Gispen (1890-1981) was a dutch designer. In 1916 he began his own forge, called ‘W.H. Gispen & Co’, where he created crafted products. But in the twenties Gispen  became increasingly influenced by the design ideas of De Stijl and he switched from traditional to mechanized production. In 1926 he designed and produced the Giso lamps, it became a big success. The Giso lamp (Nr. 24) is a pendant lamp and  has a shade made of white opal glass that is 25 cm and a frosted glass disk that is 43 cm, the stem is made of nickeled metal. The opal glass ensures that the light is not really intense, but soft. The disk ensures that the light is not going up but only going down, the reason why most of all the lamps have a hood is interesting. Maybe a lamp is not only to give light, but also to give it a direction. There are a lot of Giso lamps [], but I think Nr.24 is one of the nicest, because of that disk above the shade.

This lamp is an interesting starting point to look at the vision of Gispen about de art of light. Gispen says that in the theatre the only place is where they control the light so good, that it became a real lighting art. This is because they focus on the most essential element: the light, and they are constantly occupied with the goal: lighting. If you want to make a lamp, you should be aware of the technique and also the goal: the right light on the right place. The requirements that must be set by a good lamp are  of different kind: physically, technical, economic, psychic. There are two groups that create lamps, but not with all the suspects. Architects and artist only focus on the psychic suspect, but then rarely on the main points of this suspect: colour and mood of the light. They only focus on the carrier of the light source, the lamp or ornament. The meaning of a lamp and the way to show it be interchanged. He thinks of all possibilities, an interesting way of hang up, or he creates lamps in the form of a square, instead of round, or a lamp out of wood. He thinks about everything except the fact that a lamp must be an object that light the space as good as possible. The other group is the group that only focus on the technical and economic suspect of a lamp, they want to create the best formula: the most light for the lowest costs. A lot of calculations and math, but a moderate result.

Gispen_Model24_redu

 
I will explain the different requirements.

The physic requirements: the light must be calm and not flicker, that is harmful to the eye. Also the light must not be too strong, that is also harmful for the eye. So you have to cover the light source. You can see how it is done in the Giso lamp. The shade is made of Giso-glass, the best kind of crystal glass, in minimal achievable thickness, (1mM.) covered with a layer of white glass, to a thickness of only 1/5 mM. They make the light pleasant and soft and only lose 10-15% of the light. Also the light must not be too weak. If the light is too weak it requires too much effort from the eye.

The technical requirements: the light out of a lamp can be controlled, by the use of reflectors, diffusers and light-breakers. The light can be absorbed and reflected, the way it absorbed and reflects depends on the material that is used for the reflectors, diffusers or light breakers. So you need to know about materials if you want to create a good lamp. There are also three different ways of lighting: – direct lighting. The reflector is so made that the light goes straight to one place, and is very concentrated. Examples are outdoor lighting or lights in a storefront.

-Indirect lighting: you get this light to let the light first been shined on to the ceiling. But the shadow it creates is so small that you get a surrealistic feeling, and also it is really expensive because the efficiency is only 35%.
-Half-indirect lighting: the best for general lighting. You’ll get this light if you put the lamp in a diffuser of a particular form. The light will shine in all directions . The Giso lamps are made to create this half-indirect lighting. But what you can see, the Giso lamp Nr. 24 has also a reflector above the diffuser, so the light won’t go up to the ceiling.

Economic requirements: maximum efficiency at minimum power consumption. Giso glass is perfect for this efficiency. It has a huge perseverance.

Psychic requirements: the place where a lamp hangs is of course important for how it looks like, a lamp in a living room must be different than a lamp in a party room or a storefront. As you have read there are many different requirements that a lamp must meet. They already decide what a lamp should look like, but you still can design a lamp as good as possible. For example Gispen uses soft gold bronze instead of dark bronze, so there is less contrast between the white shaves and the metal. The Giso lamp (Nr. 24) does not hang on a clumsy chain, but on a fine metal tube.

So maybe it was not true that a lamp is just a simple product. You have to be aware of all kind of different suspects if you want create a lamp, as Gispen did. But if you think it doesn’t matter at all, you can make whatever you want, without looking at all the requirements. (in my experiment I look don’t really look at the requirement, only at the atmosphere.)

 

Light experiment

Experiment

So now we know what Gispen thoughts were about light. I wanted to do my own light experiment. I changed my lamp into different forms, to look what will happen with the lamp and my room when I make small changes. I used my lamp in my bedroom that has a reflector above the lamp, so the light is more concentrated on the floor and less on the ceiling (like the Giso lamp number 24). I put all kind of different things under the lamp or covered it. The changes are huge, you can see it in the pictures, but it was even more in reality. If we look at the physic requirements I think Gispen would say that I made really bad lamps, because they are often too weak. Personally I like weak light, I liked the one with the white paper around the lamp, and the light concentrated on one point of my room and the rest of the room was less light. Economically it were also not really good lamps, a lot of light gets absorbed so it was not really: maximum efficiency at minimum power consumption. But my experiment was not about creating a good lamp. But about what little changes to a lamp do with the atmosphere of the room. I found out that it changes a lot to a room, but also really your mood. When found out that when the light changed, so my view at my room changed, so my mood changed. The best example was maybe the one with the color, the blue was cold and the red warm. Also the weakness of the light matters to my mood, the darker, the more I get into a mysterious almost melancholic mood. So I discovered through this whole research the impact of a lamp in a room. And that is bigger than I first thought.

 

Light experiment

 

Color Opposition


Thursday, January 24, 2013

 

What I understand about Ewald Hering is not a vast amount, it’s pretty narrow. I’m no Physiologist as he was but I will try to elaborate on his theory of Color Opponency, which is the idea that the receptors in our eye that make seeing colors possible are capable of taking in two colors at a time and that to each color there is a reaction. When looking at the two colors at the same time, or next to each other, it has contradictory experiences. This creates a kind of optical illusion where the colors seem to glow. Just like when you look at a black dot on a white background then look away you keep seeing the glow of the dot you stared at. This is that same glow. There are many optical illusions that use this formula.

The opposing colors he was talking about were Blue to Yellow (and vice versa), Green to Red and Black to White.
Anytime these colors are put up next to each other, without any intervening colors, it becomes difficult to look precisely at the border between them.

I understood why this combination of two opposing colors creates this illusion.
So my plan was to combine the colors and create an illusion that had its effect within the colors.
First I started with little prototypes with examples of existing optical illusions, but with the opposing colors, since I had discovered that Hering himself had created an optical illusion, namely the Hering Illusion.

Goodness gracious, is there anything Mr. Hering didn't do?

I found two other optical illusions that were of almost the same design as that of Hering’s and combined the colors with the design of the illusions.

It was too distracting, the optical illusions, so I removed these and tried a simple design; a red square within a green background and the opposite of that; a red background with a green square in the middle.
It felt more honest to the colors, rather than taking something that was already meant as an optical illusion and decorating it, so to say.

I liked the prototypes but they were, after all, prototypes.
So I set off to make three big paintings with a color combination of two each just like the ones I had made before.
The optical illusion worked, halfway through the second one, blue and yellow, I had to wear my sunglasses because I started to get a massive headache.

It was funny how the color scheme, blue & yellow, green & blue and white & black are usually set up together. I finally understood why; it was this subliminal optic effect which makes you either love it or hate it.

Not only that, this might be the very reason some people hate Christmas. Eureka!

I had to pat myself on the back for that one.

What I’m interested in researching further after this project is to see which secondary colors have this same effect with each other.
However I don’t want to limit my research to painting, I want to check if the same rule applies with objects in backgrounds with opposing colors.
I’ll try this with myself wearing a red t-shirt and standing in front of a green wall. The opposite as well, green shirt to a red wall. This I’ll do with all the color combinations and if my calculations are correct I should be able to blind you when you see me.

I started noticing that this same optical illusion not only works with these colors, but that it happens with other ones as well. Colors like purple in combination to green, for example, has a similar effect. However I don’t have the specific formulas to the secondary colors, so I won’t elaborate.

As an ending to the Ewald Hering project we silk screened one color each in reflection to our color theory. I chose the brightest neon pink I could find

(Thank God for Magenta, am I right?)

 

Colour Made of Light


Thursday, November 29, 2012

 

Research – RGB system

The RGB system [X] is a colour system generated by light. It is based on the light primaries of red, green and blue.When combined, red and green light rays produce yellow, blue and green produce cyan, red and blue produce magenta. Red, green and blue mix to create white (light).[X]

The RGB colour model is additive in the sense that the three light beams are added together, and their light spectra add, wavelength for wavelength, to make the final colour’s spectrum.

The choice of primary colours is related to the physiology of the human eye; good primaries are stimuli that maximize the difference between the responses of the cone cells of the human retina to light of different wavelengths, and that thereby make a large colour triangle.

The RGB system was developed in conjunction with television technology. The surface of the screen is covered by tiny points, each with a diameter of approximately 0.2 mm, containing phosphorescent materials (molecules). Normally, three types are selected to transmit red, green or blue light after excitement by beams of electrons (after they have absorbed energy).

Colours on the television screen are created by a special form of additive light mixture known as a partitive mixture. The partitive light mixture is created because the human eye is incapable of perceiving the many hundreds of thousands of points — the triads of red, green and blue patches into which they are organised — individually, and can only register the mixing effect of all RGB-triads together, with brightness being regulated by the intensity of the electron stream which triggers the phosphorescence.

The cube construction has been verified as the most suitable system for this particular range of colours, with each of its edges being divided into 16 equal parts numbered 1 to 15. These numbers are sufficient to specify the trichromatic composition of each colour.

The eight corner-points of the cube are occupied by red , green and blue, the subtractive primary colours magenta, yellow and Cyan, and the achromatic colours white  and black.

All colours in the RGB system can be concentrated into two subgroups, one centred on white and the other on black. The chromatic form extends from black (0, 0, 0) along the edges of the colours to reach the white tip (15, 15, 15) — the maximum intensity — after passing two corner points.
The RGB colour model itself does not define what is meant by red, green, and blue colormetrically, and so the results of mixing them are not specified as absolute, but relative to the primary colours. When the exact chromaticities of the red, green, and blue primaries are defined, the colour model then becomes an absolute colour space, such as sRGB or Adobe RGB.

 

PROJECT

& silk-screening

 

The colour I silkscreened during the progress of my project was connected to the red I used as a starting point for the RGB project. They were not the same red, but still *red“.  The red I used as a starting point for this project (RGB) was on my mind somehow, I’d been with this red for a while so maybe that’s why I still had it in my head, I don’t usually consciously spend this much time with one specific colour.

I was thinking about this RED, so that was the colour I was most curious about to silkscreen. I liked seeing the red in that process. It became tomatosoup red, not like the red in the project, which reminded me more of blood at the time. But maybe it’s also dependent on your mood, how you see red.

The project began with my research on the RGB system, colour made of light. How you see what you see on a monitor. Your eyes are fooled. What they don’t see, is that what is actually on the screen are millions of tiny dots, molecules that change colour when stimulated by electrons, into red, green or blue. Where they overlap we see yellow, cyan or magenta. And all of the hues that can be formed out of these components (read this research for more). So all of the fantastic images you can see on a screen are just tiny dots changing into three different colours and overlapping. Layers of light form the image. White light illuminates or dims the colour.

This was my starting point and this is what I went into throughout my research on colour. Seeing how colour is or can be composed, by  looking at it like a monitor screen. On which you see an image, but you know it’s actually only dots, and you want to see the dots, but if you do that you have to go up to the screen really close, and then you loose the big picture. Is it possible to see the tiny dots as well as the big picture? For humans, on the monitor this is generally not possible, so I tried to explore this „seeing up close, far away“, on a different medium, than a monitor.

My first experiment, I did on a white paper surface was my „white light“.

On it I applied a shade of red I mixed out of different reds. I used a small soft roll you would usually use for painting walls, which has a sponge effect, it absorbs and release. With this I felt I had more room to  deal with the white paper as a 3D Object not just as a surface. With this sponge roll I could press colour into the sheet of paper as well as absorb it  depending on how wet/dry the paper and/or roll was.

 

 

If I used a lot of water for example, I could  „wash“ the colour out. I would say it was like trying to tear the colour apart, going through all of its layers, and seeing what sort of image this creates.

To this stretching the colour/revealing it’s layers, I added another colour and tryed a more soft approach, using more soft movements to try and get the colours to overlap as they wanted to .

 

 

Basically what I did in the next experiments was working with layers. Concentrating on the single colours and how they change, according to the different tiny particles or pieces they are made up of.

 

 

At some point I worked with black as well as white, to see how colours react when you add light or dark, above or underneath it or both. Sometimes I would let one part dry longer so the different layers of colour wouldn’t mix to see if it made a difference.

 

 

I also tried creating different patterns/structures, to see how a pattern or a structure, for example one made up of dark and light particles underneath the colour, takes an effect when you look at the big picture.

For this I also tried using my lower lip to create a colour pattern to find out if a colour looks different when it is applied in a lower lip pattern.

 

 

The last experiment I did, was cutting material things into small parts so I could mix them and when you see it from far away maybe you see a new colour. I made for example, an orange colour out of khaki fruit skin, and an orange velvet textile, both of which I cut into very small pieces and then mixed. After about two weeks it started to rot, and green mold was added to the colour scheme.

 

With other experiments I got lost in the big picture and it became a more pictorial. Still I was working up close, concentrating on small sections at a time, looking for effects this can have on a colour when you take one (or many) steps back.


Philipp Otto Runge’s colour sphere & the three-dimensionality of colour


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Philipp Otto Runge (1777 -1810) was a romantic painter. He’s considered to be one of the best of his time. His interest in colour was the natural result of his profession as a painter. He invented a colour theory which he eventually published, encouraged by his friends, in 1808 in the form of a manuscript. He was pen pals with Goethe and they exchanged their ideas on colour. Goethe also featured him in one of his books.  Sadly he died young and his efforts where soon overshadowed by others.

His goal was to establish the complete world of colours resulting from mixtures of the three, among themselves, and together with white and black. He presented this in the form of a colour sphere, shown below.

Featured are the primary colours red, yellow and blue. They have the same distance to each other. The secondary colours orange, purple and green also have the same distance. The upper part of the sphere is white; the colours become lighter. The lowest part of the sphere is black; The colours become darker.  Red, blue yellow, black and white have the same distance from each other.

The colours shown on the outer layer of the sphere are the most pure. You could, for instance, also cut the sphere. In the middle of the sphere you could see a muddy colour (grey/brown). It’s every colour together so it doesn’t have any characteristics.

—————————————————————–

For my own project I took the idea of three-dimensional color. It’s already there in the original drawings from Runge, as shown above. This idea of three-dimensional color and the way Runge has dealt with showing this already offers some nice problems which I used as a starting point.

For instance:

-You can’t (to a certain extent) show three-dimensional colour in a two-dimensional way, in other words you can’t show the three-dimensionality of the color sphere by making a drawing of it.

- The only thing that works like the colour sphere is the colour sphere itself. For example; if you take the fruit ”mango” you will see random spots of red and green on the outside and yellow on the inside, there’s no order, like with the sphere. There are no logical transitions and grades. From red to yellow is logical. From red to green not.

-The colour sphere cannot be a colour triangle or colour square. It only works as a globe.

I started investigating these thoughts; The problem of three-dimensionality, the problem of the colour itself and the problem of shape.

 

With this in mind I started investigating different ways of showing color. On different surfaces; paper, textile. With different materials, paint etc. I started looking for objects, things and even animals which I thought could be interesting colour-wise. Taking them apart to see the colour inside. Decomposing and analyzing.

In the end I took an onion. The advantage is it’s simple shape, round, and the way it’s already layered. It has different layers of colour, ready to be peeled off.

Philip Otto Runge was of course a painter. To stay close to those roots I used actual paint to get the right colours of the onion. I painted on the onion itself to see if the colours where alike and for me it was a big part of the project; it’s quite hard to get the exact colors. As Runge used his colour sphere to discover and examine the colour of paint, and how to effectively use it, it was a nice experience to work with this material myself in such a way.

 

Now I had the colours ready; I could start thinking about the shape, or the application of these colours. I thought about applying the colour to various things, for instance; architecture. In the illustration I made below one can see how this could be done. There are seven rooms that fit into each other. I took them apart and spread them out in the illustration in different layers. The last ”room” is actually a pillar. You can’t go any further.

 

I silkscreened this colour. It reminded me of the light of the sun at the beginning & end of the day, when it only touches the top part of houses, trees, clouds. A gold, deep and warm yellow with a little bit of mustard. One of Runge’s works, ”morning”, inspired me to choose this colour.

 

/In progress/

Moses Harris, The Natural System of Colors


Thursday, November 29, 2012

 



 

Moses Harris [entemologist engraver 1730 – 1788] examined the work of Isaac Newton, and tried to discover all the variety of colours that can be determined from principal colours : red, blue and yellow
Harris presumed that these colours, when are mixed with each other can form all the colours and tints (660) in the nature.

Nature was his guide and assistant , as the arrangement of the principal colours is systematized according to those reflected by the prism, where we find the orange colour lays between the red and yellow, green between yellow and blue and purple between blue and red.
These colours coming in continues succession gave him the first idea that they should be placed in a circle. He thought that this order agreed with what seems to be demanded by nature.

The nature of the thing divided the the whole into two parts: prismatic and compound

 

 

He noticed that
PRIMITIVES – red yellow and blue are most common especially in wild nature
MEDIATES – orange green and purple are the colours that mother nature decorated most of the flowers

To show all the variety of colours Moses Harris created segmented circle and its identification system.
He applied water colours in layers what allowed the subtle transition between colours and shades.
According to Harris explanation, the primitive prismatic colours each use the use three parts of a single color (red, yellow, or blue) while the mediate prismatic colors are two-to-one combinations of the primaries, determined by their position on the circle.reference. From this information, we can assume that each compartment received at least three washes or layers of color and perhaps as many as twenty, the number of shades or tones Harris designates within his circle. It is unlikely that Harris used as many as twenty color layers to create the deeper tones in these plates, however: It simply was not necessary. The narrowing size of each arc gives the perception of color darkening, and Harris may have taken advantage of that effect, just as he relied on the white paper surface to aid representation of the lighter shades. It is likely that Harris used some smaller number of color washes—three or six, perhaps—for each of the eighteen colors in each of the two circles.

He linked colours with some pigment, fruit or flower

PRIMITIVES:
Red – Vermilion – Wild poppy
Yellow – Kings Yellow – Butter flower
Blue – Ultramarine – Corn flower

MEDIATES:
Orange – Red orpiment – garden Marigold
Green – Sap green – Leaves of the lime-Tree
Purple – Hairy sheep scabius – flower if the common Judas tree

COLOURS CIRCLES

PRISMATIC:
Red, orange-red, red-orange, yellow-orange, orange-yellow, yellow, green-yellow , yellow-green green, blue-green, blue-green-blue, purple-blue, blue-purple-purple, red-purple, purple-red

COMPOUND
Orange, olave-orange, orange-olave-olave,gren-olave, olave-green-green, slate-green, green-slate-slate, purple-slate, slate-purple-purple, brown-purple, purple-brown-Brown, orange-brown,brown-orange

equal amounts of red + blue + yellow = black
equal amounts of purple + green + orange = black

white is seen as the lack of colour

Contrasting colours lay on the opposite sides of the circle
According to Harris his colour system has both practical and philosophical uses. He mentioned an experiment in which blue arises from the orange of the candle flame. These are the contrasting colours that lay in the circle opposite to each other

There is nothing known of the contemporary use of these color circles.

 

MY research OF THE MOSES HARRIS COLOUR SYSTEM

Moses Harris presumed that these colours, when are mixed with each other, can form all the 660 colours and tints  in the nature.
The ones that he himself actually found in the nature were just 6 of them (red yellow blue green orange purple).

Where this small amount of examples comes from? Moses Harris lived in the XVIII century, when there were not many ways of transport and traveling was not easy and common. He was most probably, just looking around in his surrounding.

Nowadays, we live in the globalized world and traveling is an everyday thing. We have planes,  cheap flights and we can reach any place of the world.
Moreover we can also travel in the cyber-space through the internet. Internet is an enormous source, all the world is there. Its a very big source of information. Most of the people use it daily, to search for different kind of info, to  check our email and also for the social networks among which the most popular is Facebook.

Facebook is a huge personal (but not only) information area. Members post

photos from their journeys.  Next to the photos of people and architecture one of the most popular are photos of nature.

I find this modern world and digital media a very interesting topic, that is why I decided to search in the photos of nature taken by my Facebook friends posted during their whole existence on Facebook

I found many photos of nature  in a bunch of different tints, but still many are missing.

I was thinking what would be a great way to present them and decided to make collages  that  take a way a bit the realistic look of plants. make them more abstract ( each 10 tints ) .

 

 

 

 

blue- purple   / purple-red  /  orange-yellow  /  yellow    / yellow-green

I am still in the process of creation. At the moment there are many parts of the Moses Harris circle to be filled in. It leaves the open space for other people. If any of you is interested to search for the nature photos of their friends, please do that and send it to me : a.d.radzimirska@gmail.com
I am pretty sure that together we can fill in every segment of the whole circle of Moses Harris.

 

Herman Ebbinghaus, Deconstructing the Phenomenon


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Introduction

Herman Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) was a German psychologist, who pioneered the experimental study of memory, was the first one to talk about the learning cube and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and spacing effect. He has also discovered a color system, based on a double pyramid colored Red Blue Green and Red after Leonardo da Vinci’s idea. The idea was that due to the variation of brightness, those four colors can be separately distinguished. He strongly believed that being aware of the physiologists discovery,  in the eyes retina there are only three photo-sensitive substances who are responsible for the phenomenon of colored vision and its anomalies. He published in 1893 in the Journal of Psychology in Germany, a “Theory of Colour Vision” – in which he mentioned that humans perceive colors through higher mental processes. He had then discovered that if one of the combinations of pyramids, red and green or yellow and blue have a common base in a three dimensional space and that base spins (as seen in the image), two white hues are produced and the brightness is linked to the speed of the spin. It is a purely phenomenologically oriented portrayal of colors in which the complementary pair does not find a place opposite one another. The double-pyramid has then came to be a stronghold of phenomenology, an era in which colors were simple came to a close. After Ebbinghaus discoveries physics could never be certain again about the nature of light and it’s wave and particles properties that have also been discovered at the same time by Albert Einstein.    

The Machine

It really got me by surprise me that i couldn’t find any other source or any other image besides one website. All about this color system is theoretical, it hasn’t been applied into action. So i was curious to see this phenomenon happening. My first attempt was to create a physical machine with two rotated round edge squares, one would fit into the other and with the help of two air blowers, it would turn.The machine didn’t have much success as i realized immediately, it was an interesting shape but the squares didn’t turn fast enough therefore the phenomenon couldn’t appear. After creating the machine i wondered whether a digital form could be more efficient.

  (more…)

James Clerck Maxwell’s additive color


Thursday, November 29, 2012

James Clerck Maxwell, physicist, created the first color photograph, theorized, and experimented with kinetic theory of gases, electromagnetism, and additive color. Maxwell’s theories and research into these several fields commenced other scientists to define the physical description of the human color perception and to further delve into this subject. He created various equations, which explain how light waves travel and the first triangle color system, which plays a large role in many color systems such as CIE and Hermann von Helmholtz’s Curve of Spectral Colors. Maxwell demonstrated in his experiments that when he mixed red, green, and blue together they create white.

Each color in his triangle is the result of the combination of two or more of the primary colors. Within the triangle, Maxwell hypothesized any two color combinations will lie opposite of each other. In Maxwell’s triangle, he translated the geometrical shapes and space between colors defined in Newton’s color circle to measurements of the colors physical stimulation and resulting mental states and sensations. Digital screens all use the additive color system, which emits certain colored lights to create the image on a screen. These controlled light waves still cannot be completely measured in computers or televisions, which cannot distinguish different colors. The additive color and electromagnetic waves experiments done by Maxwell all contribute to the visual aspect of computers and television, as well as radio.

Google Image Search Color Filter Slideshow


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Athanasius Kircher, is the man behind de Coloribus (1646). The basis for all combinations is a linear construction which, apart from white and black, operates with three colors (yellow, red and blue). The special position of green is red also placed in the center. Green is located at the overlap of yellow and blue.

The diagram of the theory shows that all colors (yellow, red, purple, green, and blue) are derived from mixtures of black and white. This had a big influence on the color theories in that time and remained influential until Isaac Newtons’s experiments with light refraction. The prism, and its effect on light, was something already known to Kircher. He accounted for his colors by noting that the brightest occur after passing through the thinnest side of the glass, and the darkest after passing through the thickest side of the glass. But newton was the one who defined the right order of the rainbow colors. And Newton also discovered that colors are light of different wavelengths and that white light is a mix of all colors in the rainbow spectrum, something that Kircher didn’t find out.

In Kircher’s book that contains eight chapters which deal with the multitude of colors, investigate the colors of transparent stones, or colors of plants and animals. For example, he questions himself why four legged animals do not seem to be golden, and why insects and birds adopt all of the colors.  And why the sky appears blue, but he never reached a satisfactory answer.

*

During the research on Kircher’s color-system I was looking for an answer that wasn’t there. The color system was just a view from one guy, a long time ago and there wasn’t that much to understand about. It was just what it was. So for that reason I chose to just leave the colors for what they were and chose to use the image search option in Google. The first time I used a white to green gradient, and the second time a black to green gradient.

Green to white

and the second time a black to green gradient.

Green to black

 

It was pretty interesting that the images weren’t any photo’s, but all gradient or flag like images. I found it very interesting how the different images or flags float into each other, and wanna to combine pairs of images which should create a new image.

I made a JPEG from every color in the color-system in Photoshop, using the RGB colors to create the colors. I dragged the colors in chronologic order in the image search-bar and made some more screen captures of all the results.

What was even more interesting were the titles of the images found in Google. Titles like: "2334452-90081-a-tightly-woven-yellow-and-black-stripes-texture-that-works-as-a-seamless-pattern-in-any-direction.jpg" or "The Colour Green.jpg"

Because of that I had the idea to make a book with all the found images, ordered in chronologic order with the title of image. But because of the big amount of money, what I needed for the book and the idea that the images where from internet. And so belonged on the computer, I decided to create a slideshow of the images and use the voiceover function in Mac for the titles. I did everything in chronologic order (except for the color green) I decided to put the red before the color green (as you can see in the color scheme it wasn’t really in the middle, so I had to choose if I putted it before or after the color red.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

During editing the video I tried to make a kind of system using a different style for each type of file. And also the same slide in the Color that I used to find the images.

I’m very happy with the end result, although it went in a different way than I expected to be. But I’m fine with that. With this I learned to accept the results that you find during the research, and not to manipulate or change it. But deal with what you have, and only change the medium if necessary. Why not use video or why relate nothing to the computer if your material is found on the computer. But this depends on what the images try to say, or what the images say to you and what you want to do with it. I really have to take some more distance of the results in my research, most of the times I try to be too much in it, because of that I lose the reflection on, and the actual core of, the collection of images or results of what I’ve made. And because of that I sometimes do too much with the things that I’ve made. I kind of ruin the core of the images in that way.

The color that I silk screened as part of the process has something to do with the fact that the colors between black and white are derived with mixtures from green according to Kircher’s color system. I decided to add a little bit of neon

green in thewhite, so it became almost white but also green. It almost look like a glow-in-the-dark circle as you can see.

I feel I know you, Nature.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German Writer, artist and politician. Goethe devoted a large part of his life to the study of natural phenomena. Although Goethe especially was known as a poet, he saw his own scientific work as his greatest merit. Yet few had appreciation for Goethe’s scientific work, though some modern scientists, like Henri Bortoft and Reinhold Sölch, get greater understanding of Goethe’s learning.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe analyzed colours from a physical perspective. In his views, there are two basic colours: cyan and yellow. Cyan originates from viewing dark through light, like you view the sky during the day. Yellow originates from viewing light through dark, like you view light in a dark area. Goethe based his colour theory on this interaction between light and dark.
The intensification of the basic colours leads to other colours. If the colour yellow is intensified, it leads to red. If blue is intensified, it leads to violet. This can be seen in the sky when the sun goes down. This is also an explanation for the categorization of cold and warm colours. According to Goethe green is the neutral colour between cold and warm, like the colour of plants. Magenta, or purple as Goethe calls it, is the balanced connection between light and dark, because it carries light as well as dark elements.

 

 

The colour theory of Goethe can thus be seen as the star of David. Two similar shaped triangles lapping over each other: a triangle that faces down and an overlapping triangle that faces up. The triangle that faces up has cyan in the lower left corner, yellow in the lower right corner and magenta in the upper corner. The triangle that faces down has violet in the upper left corner, red in the upper right corner and green in the lower corner. Smaller triangles can be extracted from the two large triangles that show alternative possibilities. In these smaller triangle Goethe pays attention to secondary and tertiary colours. He also analyses colors in relation to psychology. Colours ranging from yellow to red are analyzed as the plus-side, whereas colors ranging to blue are referred to as the minus-side. Here Goethe connotes the plus-side with warm, positive associations and the minus-side with more dark, negative associations. This is what he calls the sensual-moral effect of colours.

The German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe describes a journey through the Harz Mountains in a very compelling manner, in the middle of the winter. The reader will be absorbed by his writing, like he would be walking around in a painting, when he writes about vague violet shadows of a group of trees and overhanging rocks in the noonday sun lighted by a yellow snow. As the hours pass, these shadows deepen from a deeper blue to a dark yellow-orange tone sunlight. As the sun reaches the horizon and a purple light covers the entire landscape in a red glow, the shadows turn green. Goethe describes almost a fairy-tale like landscape painted in the colors red and green. The story is part of Goethe’s color theory and is a typical example of the empirical experiences on which this theory is based.

Goethe’s color theory was published in three sections: If Beiträge zur Optik I (1791) and II (1792) (part III, Von den Farbigen Treasures remained unpublished), if Didaktischer Teil in 1808 and finally in its entirety, under the title Zur Farbenlehre in 1810. It is an extensive work with a special status in the world of culture and science. From the beginning there were numerous outspoken advocates and critics. Present day Goethe’s color theory is not considered scientific, i.e. not in accordance to the scientific physical principles based on Newton. In the Romanticism around 1800 science was viewed in a much broader sense. Natural philosophers intermingled empirical research with their own vision and passion, based on literature and art. In their views colors were not only physical wavelengths, but also individual observations with the sentimental values and emotions.

Artists, especially landscape painters, felt a deep connection with this way of reflecting on colours. They viewed colours and reproduced them in a manner that the viewer could relive this observation. Pure scientific facts are not enough to describe the color world, in their views.

Twilight sinks down from above us,

Swiftly all the near is far:

But first shining high above us

Radiant is the evening star!

Everything is drifting vaguely,

Mist steals upwards to the height:

And the still lake mirrors darkly

Black abysses of the night.

Now in all the eastern distance

I suspect moon’s gleam and glow,

Slender willow’s trailing branches

Dally with the neighboring flow.

Through the play of moving shadows

Trembling lunar magic shines,

And a soothing coolness follows,

To the heart now, through the eyes.

When I started reading his poems, I immediately linked the poems to his colour theory. The romantic way of describing the natural phenomena inspired me to collect all sentences that actually describe a specific light of the day in different landscapes. His words spoke to my imagination and it naturally formed the idea to search for the landscapes, which refers Goethe to. I found a big collection of images and made a selection out of it. Because Goethe’s Theory was based on the light we see in nature I have chosen a film projection. In this setting the viewer can immediately disappear in the meaningful words centered in a similar surrounding as a sort of meditation.

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The moment I had to make silkscreen-printed colour, I was compelled  by the appearance of the moon after reading this poem and tried to bring this feeling back in just one colour.

 

 

a visual study of the Young-Helmholtz color theory


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hermann von Helmholtz was a German physician who contributed greatly to different areas of science. In 1851 he made a color system that looked like this:

This color system illustrates how color is perceived by the human eye. The system is based on a previous study made by Thomas Young in 1802, the color system has therefore been named the “Young-Helmholtz theory”. Young’s study states that there exist 3 different types of photoreceptor cells in the eyes’ retina, who are each sensitive to a certain range of light.

Helmholtz then went a step further by assigning different colors to the wave lengths that the photoreceptor cells were capable of detecting. Short wave length, Red. Middle wave length, Green. Long wave length, Violet. If a color between the primary wave lengths is seen, the different cells will react to create a mixture that will create this color. For example, if yellow is seen, both the photoreceptor cells receiving red and green will mix to create this signal. The diagram underneath illustrates this. (1 red, 2 green, 3 violet.)

Colored light is additive, which means the more color is mixed, the closer one will come to white. This is why white is centered in the Young-Helmholz color system. The lengths represent the amount of color eventually needed to get white.

All in all this color system concluded that us humans are trichromatics, which means that we have, as mentioned before, 3 different cells in our eyes that can catch different wave lengths of colored light. So if you are missing one type of these cells, you are colorblind. This information eventually led to developing a color blindness test that is still used today, called PIPIC.

Being new to painting, and especially mixing colors, I was amazed that the three cells in our eyes mix the color that you see for you (and much faster and more accurate than anyone would ever be able to do by hand!)

Hoping to maybe understand how my eyes got so good at mixing color, I wanted to visualize this unconscious mixing trick that they apparently do. I learned from my color system that the mix of colors, which happens in the eye, is a mix of three colors; red, green and violet.

The three colors are divided into wavelengths, this is how the three different cone cells absorb them. Red, short wavelength. Green, middle wave length. Violet, long wavelength.

When we look at different colored things, our cone cells do the mix and our brain sees the  color. cool.

 

 

 

I therefore thought that I might have to put one monochrome item into focus, too boil the mixing process down to the core. I first thought I might make the cones the color of what they saw, to show how they, when mixed, visualized this color. I tried this with a cucumber and the 3rd floor of the rietveld building.

 

 

But it was simply to easy and felt repetitive showing the same color twice. colors are also such an ambiguous and individual experience, so giving the mixed color away this clearly was no fun.

I wanted to show how the eye really works on this almost incomprehensible subconscious level. The cucumber could stay, but the cones needed color!

 

 

I decided to draw a chalk circle (vision is ephemeral), with the object in focus centered. From the center I drew three lines, one for each colored cone. The lines are the same length and represent the amount of that specific color needed in order to achieve the mixed color of the object in focus. The closer they are to the object centered, the more is needed.

So far so good, But a cucumber does not just lie on the floor, a balloon might, but it still seemed too random. A cucumber is found in the supermarket or in your fridge and the balloon, maybe at a kids party. But drawing chalk circles at albert heijn or amongst 30 six year old kids on a sugar high also seemed random.

Chalk is an outdoor thing and so is color, luckily. So I went out in my surroundings and documented, with photos, the different objects i saw. I eventually made a book with all my outdoor color observations.

Click here to view it!

It starts with a green dust bin and then travels around helmholtz color system going to a yellow car and so on, until we reach another dust din, but this time blue. The circle has been completed. At the very end of the booklet we see a white cup, white being a mix of all the colors deserved a special place, so there you go white.

 

 

I am very glad i finally got out of my apartment and ended up working outside, because colors outside, or in public, as communication, is a big part of my color system. The colorblindness test that the Young-Helmholtz theory helped develop, makes sure pilots aren’t color blind, so they know what the light signals on the airstrip are trying to say to them. likewise this also goes on in our everyday public; traffic signals, which bin to throw the right trash in and where the best offers are in dirk. which is why i choose orange to be my screen printed color, featured as a signal cone in the book, because it communicates so nicely. thank you orange.

i brought my book home with me for the holidays, my family liked it.

A Planetary Color System


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

French painter and sculptor Michel Albert-Vanel, specialist in color and symbolic representation of color, presented his  Planetary Color System in 1983.  Making relation to the color system by Eswald Hering,  Vanel accepted  six psychological primary colors assembled by antagonistic pairs: black and white, red and green, yellow and blue which mixed result in 64 combinations.

Vanel focuses onto the effects of the color sensations and says that colors are not abstract concepts but real sensations, not experienced in isolation but in groups. There are no isolated colors as one color is necessarily related to the other ones and their sensation also depends on surrounding, lighting, texture, size.

There are three new parameters introduced: chromatism (the conventional scales of hue, brightness and saturation of a single color), contrast (three scales to describe mixtures of colors; for hue, brightness and saturation) and material (three scales – from active to passive, from transparency to opacity, from matte to glossy).

The planetary color system is represented by planets appearing as the primary colors, orbited by many small moons as secondary colors. Using planets as a representation makes it possible to move into multidimensional universe of color combinations and to always go further in the smoothness, into the galactic dust.

The term planet in this color system, is used only as a visual representation, as a sphere. There is no real connection to the planets in our universe. Though this use is arbitrary, my experience is that we all make this connection in our mind. As we experience colors, according to Albert, in groups, in relation to each other, I thought about the relation we, human beings, create with each others too. How do we see each others? Do we see us in color? Do we have colors? Maybe sometimes.

There is an expression: “after she saw it, it became dark in front of her eyes”, or another one: “when we are in love, we see everything pink”.

What can be the meaning of the pink color and possible source of the term ”pink love”: see this link..
or other interesting links about the color meaning, and this ‘pdf’ about color and energy.

 

The  energy or frequency a person emits has a color, though it is not visible to everyone or we have to remind ourselves we can see it, learn it again. The energies, therefore, created between people, in mutual interaction, get mixed just as they do in this color theory: into the scale, darker, lighter, under the influence of a few factors.

 

 

The starting point is a human body, for me a representation of a planet. It is a micro-cosmos, a representation of the macro-cosmos. As the planet interacts to another one, color to color, body to body, a new experience happens. Red, blue, yellow and green are primary colors used by Albert. I used them too. Since it was, and it is for now, impossible to capture the colors the body emits, I wanted them to be visible, produced by the body, out of the body, from the body. Four persons and their bodies created a fountain, a galaxy of colors, as explosion of colors. It becomes an experience documented in a form of one photograph. My wish is to remake it in the form of performance or video, where this creation, motion would be directly visible, we would see it happening.
Color has a strong connotation for me. I experience it in a synaesthetic way (look). Green and blue are cold, red and yellow warm. Also they carry more levels when I use them. This time I needed to create just one color out of these. If I mix them, I get brown, and this time, for me, there is no brown in the galaxy. It had to be deep, attractive, also dangerous, clear and not, sublime. Deep violet. The color of the galactic dust. Created out of warm and cold, red and blue. The color in between the planets.

Colors do talk; Albert-Vanel says that through the tarot he made in relation to his system.
Ask, observe.. and see.. is another phenomenon discovered by the Russian electrician Semion Kirlian, we can capture the energy of the body which radiate it. For more information about that follow this link to… photography and the “Aura”

Thank you for the colors..


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