Page 1

lel scape laraP dnaL

Parallel Landscape Where colours take place

You don’t have to travel around the world to understand that the sky is blue everywhere. Goethe

Thesis by Aliki van der Kruijs Submitted to Post Graduate School of the Sandberg Institute in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Design Graduate Program Applied Art a.k.a The Dirty Art Department, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam



ccepted acts affect alchemy 14

Active air allows analogue anti-environments appear around artificial atmosphere 47


ackgrounds balance behave better beyond blank brilliant buildings  18

 amouflage causes certain characteristics chosen chromatic clustered colour combination compare concrete confusion containing context, course, covering 24


aylight depth describes different dimension; disorienting dreamy dynamics 50


cho effects empty environmental essence everywhere exactly exotic experimental expression 20


ashion fills flat framework 27

 iven gradient guideline 41

aptic help / hollow hype 31

 ature nineteenth nothing nowadays




bject opens ordinary outsider 51

aint pattern perfect pigment plays precise present produced productions 31

 dentify impossible infinite information instead international invisible –ism 29



 anguage line lost luminosity 17

anipulating material means mind mixture monochromatic moving mute 53



emperature textiles think together towards transparent triangle

uality question 61

andom reaction reflect relationship representing research rhythm 45

creens self shaped silhouette skin; something spatial, spiritual, state striped subject supports surface system 43


ltramarine unfolds urgency 22

iolet void 46

all whereby white words write 40

ellow yes 42

en zero 38

Colour is everywhere. Everything is coloured. Colour is always the characteristics of something. Colour is an ever-changing self. Can colour support itself? Where does colour become visible? How do we make use of colours? Can colour become an environment itself? The remarkable thing about colour is the way it takes place. Visible as well invisible. This thesis is not about what colours are but attempts to see what colours can do. I made use of a coloured method1 in order to find out how colours are changing location and dimension. It’s a thesis on how colour takes place parallel to the landscape in which they emerge.


1  T  he process has been a work in itself. I wrote thousands of words based on concepts of colour, but all these words confused me. I was not able to draw conclusions from this as I seemed unable to find the colour of the thesis. This led into the work ‘the conflusion of my thesis’. I dropped my first, not approved thesis of 10.000 words on; here you can make your own tag cloud based on any text. I used the 1000 most used words of my first thesis as the scale model (1:1000) that helped me write my final thesis. I constructed sentences out of the 1000 words that formed an operative, regulating and preparatory set to construct openings for this work. These sentences became the analytical index for this thesis.

Colours are uniform in diversity. Colour is in motion all the time. Motion makes colour appear in different shades. Colour is visible or invisible, its momentary visibility depends on the context. A colour can indeed fulfil a specific function, for example in the case as a signal colour it is used to emphasise a certain visibility or in the case of camouflage the visibility decreases to almost invisibility. ‘Outside is pure energy and colorless substance, all of the rest ­happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside human beings.’ 2 How colours arise? Technically speaking, many colours do because particular structures in the outer coverings of plants and animals interfere with and scatter light in specific ways. Most colours have a chemical basis, often depending on substances that lie just below the transparent surface/skin of plants and animals. The colour spectrum is continuous, and the way our eyes see it is inaccurate, as there is no such thing as colour, only an infinite number of abstractions that we derive from the spectrum. In order to speak of colour, you have to perceive it via a perceiving apparatus, i.e. an eye. And you need light. Does that mean that colour only exists when it is perceived? Is it possible to avoid colour then? As a kid I thought that history had taken place in black and white. According to my perspective, history was dominated by black and white, as it was taped in these colours. As I only saw black and white pictures, I could not imagine that the world itself was coloured when the evidence of it only existed imprinted in black and white. I wonder under which circumstances it would be possible to let the world still appear in black and white. Because how come ‘white’ is white and how did ‘blue’ ever become ‘blue’? This is based on the codes that we agreed on for the colours. That is codes and signs that label a spectrum. A range of colours, variations of hues described in different tones, relating to each other within gradients. There is a difference between the light (physics) and the pigment (artistic) spectrum. The three primary colours in physics are different from those in art. In physics, mixing the three creates white, but in paint with pigments, the mixtures appears black. What do we exactly see when we



see colour? The Australian visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig (1940) describes in What Color is the Sacred (2009) colour as a moving substance: ‘When we see a colour, we are actually seeing a play with light in, through, and on a body, the body of colour itself. Being a matter of texture, it is no wonder that colour can seem to be what I call polymorphous magical substance, twisting itself alive trough the branches along with the dying sun.’ 3 — MICHAEL TAUSSIG Howard Caygill articulates in The Experience of Colour (1998) Benjamin’s idea that it is “through colour one’s eye is encouraged to enter the image, together with one’s whole being.” A child, when looking at a coloured illustration, looks ‘through’ the surface of the book, and passes through coloured textures to bring fairy-tales to life, according to Benjamin. Film is able to let colour move trough the use of light. A child is able to let colour move by looking through the surface and transform objects into moving images, that move in colour due to mere imagination. 12

Colour is not only a layer applied to the surface of a pre-existing form but also something “fluid, the medium of all changes”.4 Benjamin conjectures that for the child colour goes “right to the spiritual heart of the objects”. In The Experience of Colour (2005) Benjamin describes how the surface and colour are working together. For him the surface and colour are the essence of painting, so that you can distinguish between the infinity of space conceived as surface on the one hand and colour on the other. In the spatial infinity of the surface, the “being there” (Dasein) of things unfolds itself into space, but not properly within it. Unfolding into space, but not within it. Is this an invisible unfolding; a radiation? The surface and the object are not moving itself, but because of the colour, it extents his being into the space. Is this the aura of the colour that is the “being there” which is unfolding? Benjamin underlines the distinction between the speculative and transcendental character of colour and its inscription upon a surface: “colour is first of all the concentration on the surface”5. If painting does not start from colour, but from “the spiritual and the creative, from form”6 then the form of painting will affect the construction of the space through a principle of canon, and this is for Benjamin in painting the

3  Taussig, Micheal (2009) p.42 4  Caygill, Howard, (2005) p.9 5  Ibid. p.10 6  Ibid. p.11

“infinity of space”7.The concentration of the paint of the surface is creating the infinite space. As the colour extends from the surface and creates another dimension. Is thereby the colour becoming a space itself? And is colour able to construct a space? This infinity of space get my attention, when a surface is able to change a space in totality. So not the whole space needs to be de-signed, but the surface of a painting will become a sign to infinity of space. Is this where a parallel landscape is taking place through colour? Colour has a crucial role as a tool to bring forth the characteristics of an object to the perceiver. Our sense of colour is more than the perception of coloured light stimuli. Play, hear, smell and feel. A synaesthetic construction of colour? ‘Colour or infinite configuration in painting is subordinated to a particular configuration of mark and surface. This entails that a particular modality of colour – the polar c ­ ontrast of black and white – becomes the canon for the spectrum’ — WALTER BENJAMIN8 13

The absence of colour around a colour makes a colour become visible. In order to make colour big, you need an absence of the same colour around it. There are millions different moments of grey, white and black. As these colours are seen as anti-colour they are colourful indeed. Grey, white and black are often used as sketch, as design colours. Also they are seen as safe colours. Opposite to vivid colours they will shout no attention so wearing them for instance will give no colourfull highlight to your presence. If we compare Vincent van Gogh’s reed-pen drawings with his colour painting of the same object, we are able to see the transition from the world of black and white to that of colour. The black and white drawings can be seen as proto-colour images and they teach us about the energy of colour. The strokes become suggestions, more than outlines of how a blank space vibrates with life. According to the Irish writer and artist David Batchelor (1955) colour needs a simple structure to work. The more complex the form, the less successfully the colour takes place; the form will interfere with the colour experience. Batchelor questions in his lecture during the Weight of Colour symposium (11 april 2012, Utrecht) why people exclude colour in their life.

7  8 

Ibid. p.11 Ibid. p.11

Colour is secondary to line as he refers to Aristotle’s idea that through line you extract experiences. A drawing/sketch is often first set out in line before it will be coloured. Batchelor notes that ‘Colour is mimicking what is already in nature’. Colour is seen as a cosmetic camouflage on a surface. Colour as a cosmetic is a feminine characteristics, a falsification. Colour as a feminine masculine. It becomes a surface on a surface that conceals the truth. The truth as raw surface? ’If you want to understand the world’, Batchelor suggests, ‘use no colour’.

Accepted acts affect alchemy


Alchemy is a mixture of magic and chemistry. The objective of the alchemists in the middle ages was to convert led into gold. Nowadays, we know it’s impossible. But one can wonder in relation to colours What might seem more magic in terms of transformation? The alchemical transformation of base metal into gold or the transformation of black into living colours? Is this the same with colours? And if I regard contemporary alchemy as a mixture of colour and words; which chemical reactions would I have to regard? Can black9 be transformed into colours? Colour can reveal the limits of language; the attempt to approach colour through a use of words only reveals the limits of language in first instance. From that side it seems hard to find the right words to describe colours and to build a relationship with it. The human eye can distinguish shades of colour. In language, there are 11 basic colour terms. < black, white, green, orange, brown, pink, grey, red, blue, purple, yellow >


I see ‘black’ here as ‘black on white’ (a letter, a word, a text)

Nature nineteen nothing nowadays Anita Albus (1942), who writes on pigments, points out that each colour name is associated with a certain texture. Pigments are complex chemicals that reflect specific colours. The term “industrial” refers back to the origin of the colour. Colours have fake bodies. The fake bodies of colour, created by a market hype and fashion industry contains a fakeness brought about because the body itself was killed off by the midnineteenth century. I.e. the beautiful names of the paint itself were as substitutes for what had gone. The industrially produced colours, as opposed to the natural produced colours, did not contain the ingredients that their name referred to. Does this fact make the colours hollow when on the surface a colour is visible, but it’s does not consist of what it refers to? A rainbow of artifice could appear instead. The industrial revolution of the nineteenth century polluted nature with a black, dull coating. Iron and coal dominated this period. The colours of the factories spread everywhere. This black layer covered the whole environment, and the forests turned from grey to black.10 15

‘Thanks to the chemical revolution brought from coal, we now live in an artificial world without much awareness as to its artificiality. Most everything around us derives from coal chemistry, and this applies especially to the way we have recast the colour of the world such that we have confused the factory-made colour world around us in our rooms and magazines, our clothing and automobiles, with the colours in nature, parallel to the way we have confused a photograph with reality’ 11 — MICHAEL TAUSSIG But here the question returns: Can we see the real colours at all? What are the colours of nature and what are the colours of the real world? The names of synthetic colours take over the colour that had been reference to the world of plants, bugs, animals, and minerals. These names add magic of artifice. The names of the colours seem to be as important as the colour itself. I notice that when I’m choosing a colour in the hardware shop, I’m influenced by the names describing them. Actually I want to see the colour instead of read. Is a ‘tricky grey’ better to paint my desk or should I choose ‘honest grey’? The ‘tag’, the label is adding an almost moral judgment in this case which might influence my colour perception.

10  I was not so far away with my black and white idea of history maybe … 11  Taussig, Michael (2009) p.44

Is this where a colour starts to take place? If I can give another meaning to a colour, by creating a different reference, I might be able to change the context of the colour. Which course would the journey of the stunning black take when renaming it restful black? Will this slow down the movement of this colour? The context of the colour is changing by labelling it, by using a word of description for it. Words create their meaning. But the colour can ‘speak’ for itself. If you identify the colour with a number, it will still be the same colour, visually, but it is less personal. The names create a world around the colour. It’s a reference to a place, a situation, an object, which creates the idea of the colour. ‘The name of a colour (Indian yellow, Persian red, celadon green) outlines a kind of generic region within which the exact, special effect of the colour is unforeseeable; the name is then the promise of a pleasure, the program of an operation.’ — ROLAND BARTHES


Is it the idea of the code that is special and creates an unforeseeable effect? The name of the colour transports the colour. This will give the same object another context. During my research I started looking at how the same object can become something else without moving physically, but through a change of colour. I was searching for a colour which is there, even visible, but would create parallel to its emerging a horizon. Parallel to the surface it is applied on/to/at. And what is this surface then? Walter Benjamin argues that the shape of a word resembles the meaning in the sense of a strange intuition about colour. For Benjamin both colour and language share essential properties whereby the perceiver merges with the perceived.12 A colour can be seen, observed. A colour is visible when it is perceived. A colour starts existing when it is perceived. In this sense I can say that colour makes us see. ‘A new colour? I find it strange that mauve is described as a new colour. The very idea of a new color suggests that the product of men’s hands exceeds their imagination of color. The very idea of a new colour is testimony to placing a big question mark in what was until then a relatively secure relationship of subject to object. Now it gets confusing. What is this color? That is one question. And it leads to another. What is color? Is it in nature, in our mind’s eye, in a vat

12  Caygill, Howard (2005) p.10

in a factory, or in some combination thereof? And what of the naming of the new? Walter Benjamin floated the concept of the optical unconscious as that which exists in nature but of which we were unconscious until revealed by the camera. It would be part of the revolutionary movement. Can we use this idea and talk hence of a colorifical unconscious?’ 13 — MICHAEL TAUSSIG

Language line lost luminosity What is the language of colour? And what is the colour of language? When I read a word describing a colour, it influences my perception of the colour. This perception is based on the knowledge I have about the written word that represents a colour. But the word does not describe the colour precise enough. How exact can you describe colours without falling into cliché’s like ‘heaven blue’ or ‘apple green’? Talking and writing about colours can create a colourful idea of colour. Words are important to identify colours. To communicate the codes of colour. Colours speak for themselves, but in order to use colours as a reference, they need a number or a name. Hence, words approaching colours, words that are talking about colours. When describing an object, the prefixes of the colours are important. Do I perceive an artwork differently when it is described as ‘red like blood’ or ‘red like roses’. Would my perception of the same colour change because of the explanation of an artist? Words give an extra dimension to the object. In a perception of a colour the used description gives a certain association. Your attention is set on a certain track because of a word. Is it the information of the colour that takes place parallel? Is the use of information echoing the colour’s form and transformation? Is the colour echoed in the name, that is already revealing information? Marshall McLuhan (1911) notes that “In the age of information, it is information itself that becomes environmental.”14 Would it be possible that a colour that takes place parallel according to McLuhan will become an environment in itself?

13  Taussig, Micheal (2009) p.233 14  Gordon, W. Terrence (2005) part 4, p.4


Background balances behave better beyond blank brilliant buildings The context plays a major role in the unfolding and the visibility of a work. The context is the cohesion between environment, place and time of the situation in which a work or a situation might occur. When work, for example in the form of an object, is made for a specific context, this will always creates a relationship with its environment. Everything is framed simply because nothing can stand freely in space. Which relationships will a work eventually have with the space, and how does colour take place? ‘Kleur beinvloedt de werkelijkheid. Je kunt kleur inzetten om iets in die werkelijkheid te laten zien.’ 15 — KRIJN DE KONING


The work of Dutch artist Krijn de Koning (1963) interrupts its environment by adding sculptural, architectural and colourful constructions to a given location. De Koning describes colour as an ‘incredibly strong phenomenon’ which is able to influence reality, and is also a tool to display reality. De Koning’s installations aim to show a different experience of the environment. His work is challenging the conventional gaze by highlighting, accentuating or blocking sightlines. De Koning creates a different perspective in a space to influence the perception. By the use of colour the environment transforms into a new dimension which creates a new world inside a already existing world. Is the colour here able to become an environment in itself? Environment is the surrounding of an object and the natural environment all living and non-living things that occur naturally on earth. “To sail from home is to exchange a colourless world for a colourful one. Home is scored in colour that is sad and ugly, what we might call anticolour.”16 If sailing from home will make home appear in anti-colour, how can we imagine that this does relate to Marshall McLuhan’s17 anti-environment? According to McLuhan environment relates to anti-environment as black to white. McLuhan writes that a new technology creates an anti-environment. So – in my opinion – the anti-environment will be

15  Krijn de Koning in interview with E. Dijksterhuis for Het Financieel Dagblad, 1 December 2007. In the interview he labels his work as ‘neo modernistic baroque architecture’. 16  Taussig, Micheal (2009) p.96 Quote: Malinovski Argonauts of the Western Pacific 17  Gordon, W. Terrence (2005) part 4, p. 9

the anti-colour to show what the colour of the environment is. It is a difficult subject. The prefix ‘anti-’ means a black and white situation. Neither a yes nor a no. Sailing from home is a slow change of environment. That is why an important thing by talking about different environments is to be aware of the fact that the changes are mostly gradient and that there is not one chiasm, one specific moment of turn. It is a matter of time and timing in which way an anti-environment will become part of the environment again. Beside art, also technology and science create anti-environments. Biotechnology for instance creates a lot of social and ethical questions. Artists reflect their world and their surrounding and by doing this, they create a new environment. Looking at the here and now, and enlightening this, they create new perspective on the existing world, a process that Marshall McLuhan called the ‘heart of art’. ‘I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.’ 18 — MARSHALL MCLUHAN McLuhan even states that due to the change brought by artists, common people do have the tendency to see artists as enemies, or outcasts of the society. To me it means that the influence of an artist is depending on the way in which he is able to influences the environment of his objects, and the environment with his objects. As governments need an oppositional party to keep being aware of their position, so do societies need artists to become aware of the environment surrounding them. But how could artists (whereby I calculate also designers) influence an environment? Through reflective work, artists are able to visualise and highlight a cultural or social element in society or nature which is able to open perspectives (and eyes) about a certain point. Either it is a sign to something else that needs attention (socially, politically, economic or environmental). This makes me wonder if design is better articulated as ‘de19sign20’. How can I use colour to de-sign?

18  19  20 

Gordon, W. Terrence (2005) part 4, p. 9 ‘de’: enoting removal or reversal ‘sign’ : an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. By giving this word ‘space in between’, a new meaning derives out of the word. In my research to parallel landscapes I did some wordplays; space in nowhere, makes you now here.


Echo effects empty environmental essence everywhere, exactly exotic experimental expressions


If a colour stands always in close relationship to its environment, what does it mean? What is the function of a colour for the environment, and vice versa? Baudrillard writes that colours are given a meaning. All the colours stand in relation with their environment. A colour is never apart, standing on it’s own, because there is always a relationship with the surrounding. A relation that creates an interaction of appearing/disappearing/merging/contrasting/visible/invisible. In the chapter “Structures of Atmospheres”21 in his book The System of objects (1968) the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard examines the “discourse of atmosphere”22 as “concerning colours, substance, volume, space”.23 He is investigating the exact relationship of colour with its environment, to which extend it might purposefully be tied into a context. He regards colour and its material objects in the context of interior design. Baudrillard reveals the mechanisms of consumerist attraction and selling strategies by describing what is beyond the mere colour: What are the contexts that we perceive a colour in? To which extend do we always perceive colour in combination with the coloured objects? When analyzing the function of colour, Baudrillard reveals the psychological loads and automatic implications that we perceive along with the colour. When we talk about “natural colours” for example then this description incorporates a certain “echo of the state of nature”,24 whereas those colours are not more or less “natural” then any other. What echoes is the “idea of nature”, what Baudrillard calls the “simulacrum of nature”.25 In contrast to original appearance of colour in nature, colour in the context of design is always reorganized according to its significance that will determine its perception, according to Baudrillard. Hence, the “atmosphere” of objects is always made, their combination is a combination of projected values,

21  22  23  24  25 

Baudrillard, Jean (1996) p. 40 Ibid. p. 40 Ibid. p. 40 Ibid. p. 32 Ibid. p. 34

whereby “colours obey no principle but that of their own interaction”.26 Colour in the design world points, unlike its appearance in nature, merely to the possibility of nature. Colour becomes a cultural code, a “systematic cultural connotation”.27 What does this mean for the function of colour though? Baudrillard’s theory pledges strongly to regard the whole environment of objects, colours and forms and thus their interaction as constructing the ultimate function. Each element does in turn not have a function standing on itself, which means, that the function of colour broadens depending on its context: the coloured object, the volume, space, visible material much as the invisible “beyond”, and even the work process contribute to lending a certain “rhythm” to the space, which altogether creates the functionality.28I, thus, agree with Baudrillard’s notion of the function of colour. How does a colour merge with its surrounding given the idea of nature instead of colour itself just be? Is a colour that merges with its surrounding transparent or a form of camouflage? Baudrillard compares the effect of an atmosphere with the character of the materiality of glass: An atmosphere is an invisible content that is itself a container. 29 21

‘Glass works exactly like atmosphere in that it allows nothing but the sign of its content to emerge, in that it interposes itself in its transparency, just as the system of atmosphere does in its abstract consistency, between the materiality of things and the materiality of needs.’ 30 — JEAN BAUDRILLARD An environment does not always have to be coloured. You can also use the environment in order to colour your work. For a colour to become visible it needs to have a contrast towards its environment, otherwise it will blend in the environment and becomes invisible.

26  27  28  29  30 

Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

p. p. p. p. p.

35 48 56 42 43

To have the effect of camouflage taking place, colour and contrast are two important elements. If the art of camouflage lies in conveying a misleading impression as to what that something means, what is the meaning of colour itself here? Colour is becoming a tool in misleading here. It is concealing an object. The word colour derives from the Latin celare, to conceal. Colour is another word for deceit. In Hebrew zava means colour, and zavua means deception, hypocrite.31

Ultramarine unfolds urgency


There where ultramarine has has the power to play with perception, where it is possible to be ‘lost in blue’ because it appears flat, so also is camouflage based on play with perception: in nature it concerns the confusion of the predator’s eye, in culture, as Baudrillard describes, it is “a false answer to the self-contradictory manner in which the object is experienced”32; in the latter case the human sight is consciously comforted by composing an environment, for example by hiding the awful sight of a garage from each point in the garden.33 Invisibility in nature is an ingenious and beautiful system. In 1953 Bernard Kettlewell discovered why the dark-coloured night moths were increasing in population, specifically the ‘pepper salt’ variant. The pepper salt moths used to be invisible because they were camouflaged in

31  T  hanks to Netta Bacon for this lesson: “Hebrew is built completely different then the Latin languages. Every word has a root (like a plant) and the root is 3 letters and in some case 4 letters. The root as a meaning but then you move it around and play with it to create different meanings. Zava is the root of Zavua Zava means colour or the verb he coloured something Zavua means hypocrite and the root of the word is Zava. Zavua means literally coloured, he is coloured- he is not behaving in a truthful way. In Hebrew it looks like this: ‫ – צבע‬colour Root- ‫ע‬.‫ב‬.‫צ‬. (this is how we write the root) Hypocrite – ‫צבוע‬ This way of languages is only I think in the “shmi” languages like Hebrew, Aramaic (old not used language) and Arabic. It is interesting cause you can trace back meanings through their roots and there is a strong connection to the past and the bible through the roots and their play (which my mother calls music).” 32  Baudrillard, Jean (1996) p. 66 33  Ibid. p. 65

their environment, the trees in their natural habitat. They were threatened to become an easy prey for birds when due to the Industrial Revolution the trees in the English forests darkened by the emission of carbon. The camouflage habitat of the darker butterfly – de facto the result of mutation – expanded and this created a reproductive success for surviving. The moths are camouflage artist when positioned in the right context. Distinct they shout for visual attention. The birth of modern camouflage34 was a direct consequence of the invention of the aeroplane. Aircrafts were initially used in the First World War for aerial reconnaissance. Their task was to spot enemy positions and note artillery, soldiers and vehicles gathered there. With this information, they could instruct their own artillery to direct fire at these targets. Camouflage became a major factor in the combat of deception that resulted in a hideand-seek game where each side tried to disguise any build-up of artillery and soldiers retained the advantages of surprise before any major offensive. The first efforts at camouflage took the form of either painting big guns or else covering them with painted tarpaulins or netting. First greens and browns were chosen in order to merge with the background, but it was soon discovered that the use of black or dark colours painted next to lighter colours created a visual effect of visually breaking up the shape of the equipment when it was seen from above. In the military context, this was the first use of disruptive patterns. Because of the knowledge of a technical devise, the black and white photography that detected the enemy, made it possible to create a contrast-full environment, which appeared invisible for the enemy. ‘If linear perspective displays the gradation of objects in their apparent size as affected of objects in their apparent size as affected by distance, aerial perspective shows us their gradation in greater or less distinctness, as affected by the same cause.’ 35 — GOETHE

With direct human observations from the ground displaced by aerial photography in black and white, contrast and shape came to matter more than colour. This liberated camouflage artists who could now use


Newark, Tim (2007) p.56 The derivation of the word ‘camouflage’ is by The Sphere explored and tracked back to the 17th-century France when the word ‘camouflage’ meant a puff of smoke blown into the face of someone with the malicious intent of blinding or confusing them. Another derivation is the French verb ‘camoufler’, meaning to make up for stage. 35  von Goethe, J. Wolfgang (1840) # 867


all kind of bright, vivid colours, just as long as they broke up the form of the guns they were painting with contrasting random shapes in light and dark tones.

Camouflage causes certain characteristics chosen chromatic ­clustered colour combination compare concrete confusion containing ­context, course, covering 24

During World War I, Solomon J. Solomon (1860) was a pioneer of camouflage techniques who proved a dynamic proponent of the importance of camouflage and believed that being an artist was an essential qualification to carrying it out effectively. The Royal Engineers in Wimereux, France, ran several workshops under the disguised name of the ‘Special Works Park’ where it produced camouflage materials.36 ‘The chief opponent to be overcome is the expert, who, with the advantages of time and undisturbed concentration, which are ­lacking to the aeroplane observer, is able to interpret what is recorded on photographs. The camera is a most accurate witness, and a photograph will always record something. The art of camouflage lies in conveying a misleading impression as to what that ­something means.’ 37

The most effective camouflage for artillery was to threat the whole area as one unit. Observation posts sometimes were build inside fake trees which were ideally built inside close copies of existing real trees that was replaced during the night by his replica. In the German army, the Expressionistic painter Franz Marc (18801960) wrote a letter to his wife in February 1916 in which he told her about the creative pleasure he derived from painting military devices whereby he was adapting the styles of great modern painters. Marc described his curiosity of the effect of the ‘Kandinskys’ painted on tarpaulins seen from an average 2000 metres above. ‘Nine tarpaulins chart a development “from Manet to Kandinsky”’. Picasso suggested his ‘Harlequin’, a clown figure in multicoloured lozenge-patterned costume, as a possible uniform for soldiers in the First World War in order to make an army invisible at a distance. What the Harlequin, Cubism and military camouflage according to Picasso had in common was the disruption of their exterior form based on a desire to change their too easily recognized identity. “Cubism and camouflage”, I once said to someone. He answered that it was all coincidence. “No, no,” I said, ”It is you who are wrong. Before Cubism we had Impressionism, and the Army used pale blue uniforms, horizon blue, atmospheric camouflage.” 38 — GEORGE BRAQUE Cubist Georges Braque claimed long after serving the army to have some affinity with camouflage. The impressionistic, atmospheric camouflage was a merge with the environment.

The use of local foliage to cover a position for any length of time was not a good idea because when it turned brown it became easily noticeable. For moving objects the best method of camouflage was the use of disruptive patterns that could not easily made to merge into a constantly shifting background.


By the end of the war, the Special Works Park in Wimereaux produced one million square yards of painted canvas, over four million yards of painted canvas, over four million yards of scrim, six million yards of wire netting and seven million square yards of fish netting, all of which was used in camouflage projects. 37  Newark, Tim (2007) p.62


Ibid. p.72


An environment is naturally of low intensity or low definition. That is why it escapes observation. Anything that raises the environment to high intensity, whether it be a storm in nature of violent change resulting from a new technology, such high intensity turns the environment into an object of attention. When an environment becomes an object of attention it assumes the character of an anti-environment or an art object. When the social environment is stirred up to exceptional intensity by technological change and becomes a focus of much attention, we apply the terms “war” and “revolution”. All the components of “war” are present in any environment whatever. The recognition of war depends upon their being stepped up to high definition.39 — TERRENCE GORDON


Because of the black and white photography vivid colours and contrasting patterns could be used and a Cubistic world appeared. This violent change in war ; detecting ground through photography created an object that itself gave much attention to the use of colours. Because of war in black and white; a revolution was set up in colour. Instead of becoming one atmosphere with the environment, nature could be seen as a cubistic approach translated in abstraction that worked to create invisibility. Something very visible became invisible. Making use of the knowledge of who perceives an anti-environment was made. An anti-environment makes that we cannot see the former environment as it was before. But after this a new and better (colour) technology made camouflage again and became more precise. After colour photography, pixels and radar made scans of the environment to detect the enemy. Where should we now hide when technology is able to reveal almost everything, as well inside/outside or offline/online, heat/cold.

≥ Continue reading on additional yellow pages

39  Gordon, Terrence (2005) part 4, p.14

Temperature textiles think together towards transparent triangle Thermal Imaging Technology detects body heat. This became the biggest threat to the individual soldier seeking to remain hidden. Camouflage scientists work on a way to reduce this heat signature in two ways; deceiving the detector, and reducing the overall body heat of a soldier. Shiny, metallic surfaces radiate heat more slowly. If a layer of shiny material is now sandwiched between traditional camouflage cloth, a Thermal Imager will only see the shiny surface and be mislead into detecting a lower heat signature. A new, a Cubistic approach in order to be invisible? Camouflage works, but invisibility also works. Because of his camouflage, the cuttlefish is invisible for both enemy and friend. In order to stay in contact with his species, and in order to be able to protect his territory the squid uses lightwaves to communicate. Not only the wavelength (colour) of light but also the wavedirection, the polarisation of light is seen by the squids. This makes me think of a research I once heard about which described the affect of colour on space perception while being blindfolded. Two rooms, one red and one blue, were used to investigate how human perception is influenced by colour. In the red room, the body temperature of the people started to rise, and time seemed ‘shorter’ than in the blue room.

Fashion fills flat framework Humans dress according to their environment. Like military camouflage, the specific location colours the pattern. For place-specific environments camouflage patterns are designed for people to become invisible. Sand coloured clothing in the desert, white camouflage for snow. Militarism ‘wears’ nature. Can you wear the city? The monks of the Jainism, an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings, wear the environment by walking naked whereby nature reflects back to them. Is walking naked a blending with the environment due we are naked as nature? When you reflect, transform or blend into your surrounding, is this an amalgamation of contrast? Hunters wear safety orange vests to protect themselves of being shot by colleagues. In the woods, the orange contrast to the surrounding. The


prey will not detect the orange as a signal for danger. Why not? There is a ‘blind spot’ found in the ability of perception of animals through science that makes us aware of new possibilities. With the use of camouflage contrast disappears, but stepping out of the grey zone, you will become even more visible. A change of colour is a process, either you ARE in the surrounding, or you GO (in)to it. Camouflage is a fusion of contrasts. What normally would be visible, adapts to become invisible. Because you are in the right frame, you are invisible. The framework, the context is a boundary, a dividing line between visible and invisible. When an object changes location, territory, habitat, it is possible to become more visible. To become outplaced. Is camouflage also an adaptation to the environment?


The Swedish filmmaker and photographer Anders Edström strips away many of the superficialities imposed by traditional fashion photography intending to invoke hidden realities of the urban world, if not those of fashion itself. For the advertisement campaign of Miu Miu he captured a girl walking in the London streetscape. Dressed in grey, taupe and black, she is wearing the colours of the city itself. Grey of the concrete paving stones, the black lines are the space in between them. The browns and the beige correspond to the brickwork around her. She is not blending into her background, but the streets frame her movements. The visual effect lays somewhere between the street and the interior that plays a role with the dualities of interior and exterior. ‘Coloured balls floating over a frozen pond with swans. Fences in the Himalayas. A white horse with a girl’s black hair spread over it. Antlers in a frozen sea. Rubber dinghies on a salt pan. An orangeade igloo at the North Pole. A Robert Smithson spiral of white balloons. Illusion. The impossible made to exist. All photographed. Unedited. Real. The work of Scarlett Hooft Graafland is an ode to the imagination, the attainability of the unattainable, the unexpected power of reality.40 — IJSBRAND VAN VEELEN The plastic objects in the work of the Dutch photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland have artificial colours, which would not have called for attention in their ‘natural’ habitats, such as shops or supermarkets. Now used for an intervention in landscapes colours take place because they transform the original context into an artificial landscape.

40 (Ijsbrand van Veelen)

Identify impossible infinite information instead of international invisible –ism Can we see camouflage as a synthesis of space and colour? Or is it a synthesis of dress and environment? Or is a synthesis of space and colour a camoufleur to make up for the ‘art of life’? ‘With the first vision, the first contact, the first pleasure, there is initiation, that is, not the positioning of a content, but the opening of a dimension, that is, not the positing of a content, but the opening of a dimension that can never again be closed, the establishment of a level in terms of which every other experience will henceforth situated. The idea is this level, this dimension. It is therefore not de facto invisible, which would have nothing to do with the visible. Rather the invisible of this world, that which inhabits this world, sustains it, and renders it’s visible, its own interior possibility, the Being of this being.’ 41 — MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY 29

During the 70’s, the phenomelogical account of the relationship between artwork, viewer and place was all based on ‘presence’ and was associated with institutional critique. Daniel Buren is an artist who makes use of colours to create and work with the environment. The ‘in-situ’ scrutinised works of artists such as Daniel Buren are not existential, empty spaces of phenomenological inquiries, but rather the socially and ideological defined spaces of art and of public life. Buren’s work in-situ interrogates the mutual framing of artwork and site.42 The artwork and the site do not pre-exist in the final state before the work is realised and therefore neither of them dominates the other. Rather, both artwork and site are brought into being. The striped motive that Buren uses in his work became a kind of signature that the artist applies to a location, which marks the place for a certain period of time into an arena for the event of his art. The specific elements of the location such as light, the mélange of sound, etc, become elements in this event. Can I say that the stripes of Buren are a camoufler; a spatial make-up? Is his work a visible camouflage or ‘architectural camouflage’ (a highlight of specific volumes, or opposite the obscuring of

41  Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1968) p. 151 42  Take Place; Novak, Anja. (2009) p. 141

volumes). Or is it the invisible information for a space? Invisible information for a space. ‘Space is not visible, or rather the eye itself has a haptic, nonoptical function. No line separates earth from sky, which are of the same substance; there is neither horizon nor background nor perspective nor limit or outline of form nor centre; there is no intermediary distance, or all distance is intermediary. Like Eskimo Space.’ 43 ‘Synthèse des arts manjeura, architecture, peinture, sculpture.’ — LE CORBUSIER


The synthesis described above was seen for the architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965) as the harmony of art, which he called visual (or fine) acoustics. Le Corbusier notes that this synthesis is taking place as ‘the unpronounceable space’. This ‘harmony of the visual acoustics’ could also be called the 4th dimension; with a direct reference to Neoplasticism. Is it possible to create a new dimension when the environment is balanced out in such a way that it can become something new? There where Deleuze mentions a space without a separation between background, foreground, outlined in one form nor centre and if according to Le Corbusier a synthesis in space would not be able to pronounce, will it stay only visible and perhaps described with colour? And what is the position, the place where this colour will take place?

43  Take Place; Gelder, Hille van (2009) p. 80 ; Quote Deleuze and Guattari 1987 p.494)

Haptic help/hollow hype The combination of colours plays a crucial role in the play with visibility and invisibility. The combination of natural and artificial elements are – in my opinion – important to make something visible. Is it possible that this combination will lead to a new form of colour? By putting something artificial in nature, nature itself appears in a different shade of colour. I believe that the combinations of materials and colours will lead to a new work, a new language, and a new world. It is not in itself necessary to add. The interplay of adding and editing will create openings because by using the already existing, it would become able to escape it. Instead of always making a progression in only adding; controlling a situation will go beyond concept. Instead of a linear, forward approach, elements placed next to each other will hopefully let a new horizon take place for a parallel landscape.

Paint pattern perfect pigment plays precise present produced productions The colour technology of the nineteenth century killed off the body of colour. Besides this, it changed the use of colour and of paint completely because the synthetic colours that were now available choked off centuries of craft that had a tremendous work on preparing pigments, fresh everyday. “Colour is the interplay between body and tone (meaning hue)”44 All the pigments refract, reflect and absorb light in a different way and this made the change of the colour. Can colour get a body as a projection surface? With the body here is described the body of the ingredients of the paint. If we take the colour ultramarine as example, the natural colour made of lapis lazuli has a body that creates the colour. For the synthetic version, the same colour is created, but now it is not made out of the natural, original material. It’s a copy of the colour, whereby the same effect in colour is created. Can we speak of hollow colours then? The colour ultramarine shows the difference of synthetic and natural colour. Before it was produced in the factories in 1830, ultramarine was gotten from the stone lapis lazuli out of the mountains in Afghanistan.

44  Taussig, Micheal (2009) p. 42, Anita Albus quote.




(Ultramarine means: ‘from over sea’)45 When you compare the synthetic and natural ultramarine under a microscope you will notice the homogeneous synthetic pigment with round crystals that produces a consistent, all the same blue surface. By the ultramarine from the lapis lazuli you will see large, irregular crystals of varying transparency. The lapis lazuli crystals are clustered together with particles of mica, quartz, calcite, and pyrite yielding what Anita Albus calls a colour like the glittering firmament. “It’s sparkling like stars within the deep blue” This is in great contrast with the “International Klein Blue’ (IKB),46 an artificial ultramarine, used by Yves Klein, which shocked the 1950’s art world because it “literally takes on a life of it’s own47”. Klein uses the IKB to create an ‘empty’ colour. Light absorbs in the paintings, which results in an immeasurable void, an infinity.


The two colours of ultramarine applied on a surface create a different effect. Where the natural ultramarine plays with the space, the spatial play of IKB could be “vaporous, floating, timeless”. Is it possible that there is a quality in the same flatness? Maybe less romantic but besides the flatness it is creating a heroic mystery of void, which in my mind opens a lot to imagination. ‘The sensible thing is not in space, but, like a direction, is at work across space, presides over a system of oppositional relationships. It is not inserted in a pre-existing locus of space; it organizes a space of planes and field about itself. Likewise its presence presents a certain contracted trajectory of time. It is for this that it occupies our vision, that it is not transparent like a sign that effaces before signified. The sensible thing “stops up my view, that is, time and space extend beyond the visible present, and at the same time they are behind it, in depth, in hiding”’ — MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY

45 This information came out of my research from my ‘Lichter blauw’ project in the ZuiderZeeMuseum. 46  The two colours of ultramarine applied on a surface create a different effect. Where the natural ultramarine plays with the space, the spatial play of IKB could be “vaporous, floating, timeless”. Is it possible that there is a quality in the same flatness? Maybe less romantic but besides the flatness it is creating a heroic mystery of void, which for me opens a lot of imagination. Look for example to Yves Klein’s artificial ultramarine. 47  Taussig, Micheal (2009) p. 15; Alison, “Color me in,”

Ultramarine takes away the clear perception of dimensions. The void effect of ultramarine blue leads me to the work of the Austrian architect Peter Kaschnig who painted in 2009 a whole house in blue in order to investigate the consequences of living in a totally monochromatic interior. With this work he attempted to prove an assertion of Yves Klein out of 1957 about blue having no dimensions. The whole house was painted ultramarine bleu. The ordinary house became special by unifying all materials and visual structures of the structure. Through the windows natural light was still able to enter the house. Inside the house a new reality arose because the light changed and the spaces were de-familiarized and the structure became unreal. “I chose ultramarine because of it’s lack of nuance and because it offers very little relief. My eyes looked for a point of rest but couldn’t find one. I had no colour differences to focus on. The colour covered the visual and the haptic characteristics of all materials. It had any trace of use, making all objects passive.”48 Kaschnig marks that contrary to his expectations, the rooms appeared smaller and the floor and the ceiling were indistinguishable which produced a state of total disorientation and alienation. 35

‘Blue is the invisible becoming visible. Blue has no dimensions; it is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colours are not… All colours arouse specific associative ideas… while blue suggests at most the sea and sky, and they, after all, are in actual, visible nature what is most abstract. — YVES KLEIN During the research of my Artist in Residency for the NIJVERheden exhibition in 2011, I was intrigued by the ultramarine that is used in the historic laundry mill of the ZuiderZee Museum in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. In the rinsing water of white laundry, lapis lazuli used to be added to create an optic white effect. For this project I used the synthetic Reckitt ultramarine blue pigment to colour fabrics, which were exposed to the weather conditions. The effect of the blue pigment on the textiles created a strange perception. The blue is hard to perceive with the eye, and with a camera it was almost impossible to frame the blue. Because the fabrics moved, your eye was tricked because it became impossible to focus on the surface due to its optical flatness. The movement of the laundry hung up and moved by the wind, made the ‘optical’ flat dimension 3D. It became a play with dimensions.The effect of ultramarine balances between reality and


Colour Hunting; quote Peter Kaschnig p. 260


surreality. A digital example where blue is playing with dimension is the use of the ‘chromatic blue screen’. A chroma-key blue screen is used by the movie industry as background colour onto which all kinds of images can be projected. A blue box. The screen is used in media and film to be able to change the background of a studio. Because of this, the setting can be changed with one press on a keyboard. A blended image arises because on the original shot material, in a second, a new layer is added to insert a possible ‘meaning’? The weather forecast on television makes use of the same technology. How is colour used to interfere with our perception? What is the relation between the flat blue surface and the projection that it is placed in? The chromatic blue or green screen (chroma-key) used to let colour take place in post-production is a visual trick, based on the effect of a change in one digital signal. The blue and green of the chromatic screen are used because of their high visual effect. Software can detect the colour, in order to take it out to be replaced by a visual that has a narrative function. The chroma-key has a signal-function. Technology is able to detect the chroma-key as a non-signal that creates a ‘transparent’ function. The blue that is filmed, which is extremely visible, becomes invisible trough the use of technology. Is it possible to see the chroma-key as an anti-environment because technology creates a new environment for the filmed object? Technology seems to create out of the chromakey blue a transparent layer that could be compared with a varnish who creates depth to the surface.

‘For the visible present is not in time and space, nor, of course, outside of them: there is nothing before it, after it, about it, that could compete with its visibility. And yet it is not alone, it is not everything. To put it precisely, it stops up my view, that is, time and space extend beyond the visible present, and at the same time fill me and occupy me only because I who see it do not see it from depths of nothingness, but from the midst of itself; I the seer am also visible. What makes the weight, the thickness, the flesh of each colour, of each sound, of each tactile texture, of the present, and the world is the fact that he who grasps them feels himself emerge from by a sort of coiling up or redoubling, fundamentally homogeneous with them; he feels that he is the sensible itself coming to itself and in return the sensible in his eyes as it were his double or an extension of his own flesh.’ 49— MERLEAU-PONTY, MAURICE The Long Live The Immaterial! Fall/Winter 2002 collection of Viktor and Rolf has –in my opinion- been a play with the visible present outside time and space. In the line-up of the show a series of outfits started with small chroma key blue details into full dress onto which footage of nature and cityscapes were projected. Two gigantic blue screens set up behind the catwalk showed the same projection. Inspired by Yves Klein’s exclamation ‘Long live the immaterial!’ they wanted to show the immaterial as beautiful moving images, bound to disappear. The combination of the colour from the material world, in combination with the technique of the media could redefine the weight, the thickness or a new flesh of colour? Visibility exists in blue, but the blue is taking place outside time. The analogue blue will stay alone without a digital help. Is here colour taking place parallel? Or is the colour the place itself where a parallel flesh is created? I think the colour here is used to let a parallel landscape take place. There is a lot which we do not see but which exists. It is a matter of finding the right position or instrument to make something visible. Microscopes can let us zoom in, zoom out to our telescopes. Radar can detect something, a satellite captures signals. By the 1980’s, ‘Stealth’ technologies had made dramatic reductions in the visibility of military aircraft and vehicle to radar and other detection methods. Using a combination of sophisticated radar-absorbing materials and faceted surfaces, Stealth can reduce the radar signature to almost nothing.


Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1968) p. 114


Chameleons are able to adapt to their surrounding; cephalopods (like cuttlefishes, octopuses, squids) use a dynamic camouflage system to be able to merge in seconds to their background environment. A cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is tricking pretenders through a constantly manipulating skin pattern. Their skin is able to create a disruptive camouflage pattern because their outer skin is constructed with chromotofors. Chromotofors are skin papillae with red, yellow and brown coloured pigments which reflect differently due muscle tension. Next to this disruptive camouflage pattern, cuttlefishes are able to change position of their tentacles. This makes them capable to change their silhouette that makes them extra invisible. Experimental body pattern research of Portuguese and American marine biologist found out that cuttlefishes change their body posture to their surrounding, even if this is made out of (black and white) stripes; something that never appears in nature. The colours of the cuttlefish adapted to the stripes but the posture also changed into the stripes. A cuttlefish cannot perceive colours. The researchers are still questioning how a cuttlefish achieves colour-blind camouflage. 38

Zen zero For a contrast to become visible it takes at least two things, one with another. A contrast is the state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association. Contrary means the opposite, and inversion is the process in between the contrasting things. A contrast is a point/state in an inversion-process. Contrary and inversion come together due the inversion is the motion in between the contrary elements. Something can become contrary by change of context. Contrast and inversion come not necessarily together because a contrast is a moment, a point and not a motion whereby inversion is involved. In photography contrast and inversion are two important words, which in technical terminology you call diapositive. A diapositive is a positive photographic slide or transparency that captures an image in the camera. While developing the diapositive it will make an inversion of itself trough a projection and will create an image. A few years ago as I saw in a fashion magazine some white blank pages, my first reaction was the question if this could have been a mistake of

the printer. When I looked more carefully, there were small letters on the page; ‘left blank intentionally’. In different settings no-colour, the visual ‘no visual approach’ is often coded with BLANK. Why is white the form of ‘nothing’, of zero? White is the underground for black letters. I’m attracted to the void. But this void does not mean ‘empty’. This void is sometimes even ‘full’. This is something that can be experienced through the images made by the New York based Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto in the serie Cinema Series (1978) where he took deliberately overexposed photos in U.S. movie theatres by using a slow shutter shutter a whole movie so that the negatives were saturated by visual information. White could be seen as a lack of material as the of Sugimoto is a result of a diapositive overexposure so a rectangular white screen appears. Sugimoto was starting from the task: Suppose you shoot a whole movie in a single frame. 24 frames per second, times 60 seconds, times the minutes that the movies last he captured on one diapositive. Each photograph out of the serie is a collection of 20 minutes and is a collection of thousands of images. The apparent empty image of Sugimoto is actually overcrowded. The framework is enclosed by the interior of the theatre, so the context of recording is made clearly visible. Like Sugimoto’s images, the movie Zen for film (1964) by Nam June Paik is also based on a white surface. Paik developed a blank film roll that he would invite visitors to the cinema to see nothing else than the projection of a white screen. A film without images that would give the chance to explore other things. The dust in the projection, scratches on the role and fingerprints forms the film. A film without images? Paik’s film is an exception, a moment of peace and reflection in which the viewer learns again discover and enjoy the seeming nothing. I see in all these white screens new work appearing. By working with ‘nothing’, Paik showed the film, the cinema itself. Did the work of Paik show us the cinema itself? Is it a self-reflection on the media? The visitors, while watching Zen for film will reflect on themselves if they take the time to watch the movie. Did Paik reduce the film signature here to almost nothing? As a kid I walked to school thinking what there would be if there was nothing. Totally nothing. And… what is that nothing? Is that really nothing really not anything at all? Not even a nothing, because there is nothing to create a nothing with. It all has never been there. No birth, no beginning, no here and now that we go through. An empty space or surface does not mean there is nothing. The surface was visual, but the effect of the surface was invisible, only notice-


able through your bodily-perception. Doing nothing appears to be impossible. Doing almost nothing is almost just as difficult. Revealing a specific nothing where something is expected is more doable. There is nothing to ‘see’, but there is something happening. “Left Blank Intentionally” with this perspective means for me an opening to create a parallel landscape. One that is a smooth space to fill in. Is it an invitation to the spectator to fill in the void? In modern architecture the Holy Grail used to be almost nothing. Architects should do almost nothing, rather than showing nothingness. The Swiss architects Decosterd & Rahm, make empty rooms whose only meaning is their coat of white paint supposedly impregnated with bio-engineered pheromones that will make us want to throw off our clothes and make more human beings. Why do architects work so hard to appear to do nothing? Isn’t it because they are trying to get an essence of what architecture is, and for that matter what our culture is about? After all, the most valuable thing we can possess is not diamonds or gold, but simple, empty space. Personal space, real, estate, home. A habitat. 40

Wall whereby white words write We live in a transitional period where the youth is brought up with the Playstation, which turns the old museum model into an outdated place to experience things. Attractive ‘overall’ concepts for exhibitions are gaining popularity to create ways to attract different groups of public to the museum. It is partly from this perspective that the immerse exhibition concept has emerged, out of the art itself, as a reaction towards a changing social reality in which the media and the entertainment plays a central role in the connection of people, institutions and amusement end up being interconnected trough networks. The museum transformed from a white cube into a black box. Projections were the norm rather than the exception. Parallel to this, artists investigated new, often raw forms of expression by constructing installations. In recent years these two tendencies became more and more intertwined resulting into ‘total environments’ where audiovisual media occupy a prominent place. In my opinion the cinema is an utilitarian devise. All the seats are faced towards the screen. And there is only one screen. One story, one atmo-

sphere. Trough installations in a black-box, one story, one atmosphere can also be created, but the visitor receives more freedom to encounter the work.

Given gradient guideline Daniel Buren, the French artist mentioned earlier, investigates the possibilities of the museum. His works are in situ; place related works. Buren tries to escape the frame and pedestal syndrome that for him is the way the museum is used to display art. Daniel Burens L’outil visuel is not used in order to analyse the discourse, institutions on the nature of painting, but in order to analyse the discourse, institutions and conventions, which give art its legitimacy. It is not reflexive – as it has been reduced to zero – but operative: it is active ‘somewhere’. L’outil visuel had been interpretated as a proposal in outlined form50 of a ‘version’ suitable for use somewhere. His stripe signature functions as a catalyst, as a stimulus, which can be used to let a place ‘work’. It’s a dispositive work. Buren reduced in 1965 his painter’s instrumentation to a set of instructions, whereby he systematically uses a pattern of alternating white or coloured vertical stripes of 8.7 cm in width. His work has been repeatedly found to be excessively monotonous and simple. This critic for simply repeating the same practise misses the point that Buren by setting a set of instructions demonstrates a desire to free art of the notion of the originality and uniqueness of the so called ‘masterpiece’. If a work wants to ‘intertwine’ with the place where it appears the work should, according to Buren, take into account the architecture of the place. This does not necessarily result in an architectural work, nor in an adapted environment for the work in question. Buren is not looking for a symbiosis between the work and the place. The autonomy of the work and the architecture cannot be equated and need to be respected. The conflict of ratio between the work and the architecture must not be resolved, but rather, be tested. The meeting point of the work and the spot is ‘elsewhere’. The place where the work and its location meet is situated both outside the work and outside of the location and is a point characterised by difference. Le point d’intersection must be conceived as a point of place and time. Le point d’intersection is a moment and place related work.


Buren himself refers to a proposition



During the exhibition, the work and its spot are not one and the same; the difference is just barely articulated, since, to become visible, a work must differentiate itself from the spot where it appears. For this reason the context of where the work appears could never be ideal.

The white cube in the work of Buren and Wendland becomes a projection screen. The work is taking place by using the space.In cinema, the projection screen itself is actually ignored. It’s there, visible. It needs to be as white as possible to work. The exhibition place is a temporal reality. An utopia.

Yellow yes

Screens self shaped silhouette skin; something spatial, spiritual state striped subject supports surface system

Buren used the Centre Pompidou in Paris, twice to articulate the possibilities of exhibiting.51 These two works in the Centre Pompidou illustrated the two extremes of the ideology of flexibility: an isotropic space offers art only two possibilities: to leave it empty or fill it entirely – to do nothing or to install a special context together with the work. The institution of the museum is a place for art and its audience. The museum building is architecture. The architecture of the museum serves art and people. It is your presence that constitutes this space. Museums of contemporary art have an inherent wish to begin each day with a clean slate. They want, each time anew, to be able to present the artist a virginal space in order to give all the freedom needed to install the ideal conditions for the work. ‘Space is complete when time unites with our perception.’ 52 — TILMAN WENDLAND

51  Buren articulates ‘work as a context as a work’ 52  Tilman Wendland; Yellow spot Museum—a frame for art and its perception. A place where concentrated attention is protected. Because of its function and its architecture. At the museum, the focus is on one thing alone—the work of art. But what if this work directs our perception to the very place of exposition, to the space around? Does perception focus on that place, beginning with its architectural frame that contains the work of art, to the very idea of the museum? This is a question we may ponder about surrounded by the objects making up Yellow Spot. Its author, German artist Tilman Wendland, says: this room is not here for the display of my work, it is my work that aims to show this space. Before the project came to be, the artist contemplated the place. Sometimes he took his glasses off—the picture wasn’t sharp, but it was clear …

On the Dirty Art Department there was a pedestal. This pedestal, a white, rectangle cube with bunched corners was written on; ‘Object of the week’. It was supposed to display the object of the week, there were the first object to present was was an almost invisible spring. This pedestal; For me totally not inspiring to present my work upon. But, the pedestal kept my attention. One day, I knew what to present. I made the ‘object of the week’ pedestal the ‘object of the week’ itself by adding a layer of blue paint upon, and only one side was left open where I let some paint drip down in stripes. The pedestal displayed itself as a space, instead being a support to display something else. The layer of paint revealed for me the meaning of the pedestal. I don’t want to use a space to exhibit my work. My work is to exhibit the space itself. How can the space become visible? Is it an interplay between masking and revealing? And are they contrary towards each other? ‘A layer of paint forms a seamless skin, a continuous plane that masks the surface as it hides superficial flaws beneath an uniform coating. While a coating is an architectural metaphor for transparency and purity, it actually occupies the space one allocated to ornamentation, without being recognized as a façade or a type of cladding. Irrespective of it’s layer, it is still a skin that sustains the logic of cladding, revealing that modernistic architecture continues to engage with many of the mechanism it attempted to detach from.’ 53

It is not enough to see architecture, it must be experienced. Architecture establishes mental, experienced space. Architecture plus the sensitivity of members of the public constitute closed space-time. A microcosm. A sequence of elements that require our presence for completion. It is our corporality that completes the experience of architecture. Architecture concerns us directly. Its physical shape determines our movements; it directs the steps we take. You can knock down a brick wall only in a saying …



Quin, Bradley. (2003) p. 234


With my ‘while day and night alter’ installation54, I investigated a way to take space without using the given opportunity to create a monadic space as was the concept of the show where all the participant could create their own ‘universe’. I inverted the idea of the exhibition, and used the backside of other ‘universes’ to create a space, by adding layers of different colours paint. My work took place in between the work of the other exhibiters. In the installation there was a projection on a blue wall. This wall took over the projected work and merged all the colours into a new colour range. The blend between the surface and the projection became a new work.


Is ‘space’ ignored in the black cubes? Making the space dark is beneficial for showing film. But the space itself is not important anymore. Only the place seems now to be the focus point. But what will happen if the space will be used as a projection screen? When projection will be used to display a space? Tim Wendland uses his work to display space instead of displaying his work into space. His work is in my opinion an opening from inside to outside. Normally a museum displays something from outside, inside. Wendland creates a work inside, to display the context, the frame. The transformation from the white cube into the black box triggered my interest because of the fact that for me the white cube used to be a place where we could SEE, and imagine. In the black cubes we see an imagination. Virtual reality appears. Films are projected, and viewers are all set in direction to the screen. This makes the cinema – in my opinion – an utilitarian device. Trough immersion, interactivity and navigation the spectator is guided into a world, which is build to experience. This new world is not the opposite of the reality. It is a world where reality became something different. Reality appears in a more directed appearance, and lets us circulate in the mind instead of circulate physical to create a movement.55 We still use the terms black and white, but nothing is really black or white. We are not able to perceive real black, and white is always influenced by its surrounding. The fact that we link white to light and goodness and black to the powers of darkness make this stereotypes persist. The controversy in it is that if fact, working in black and white is like working in a digital program; a binary system of two colours: of one and zero’s & ON/OFF.

54  T  his installation was part of the ‘Duty Free’ exhibition in the CBK Oost Amsterdam, 8-22 July 2011 55  Concept: Open projections The lights in the museum could run in between on and off in the exhibition area; so work and projection can be in the same space and will create a dialogue.

What is dispositive vs. diapositive. A diapositive arises white when overexposed. A white space displays something beyond the visible because of pheromones in paint. Dispositive is described in the Oxford as ‘relating to or bringing about the settlement of an issue or the disposition of property. A dispositive work will change the perception of a space. Can it change the dimension of the space? Whether you will use white to leave something blank, or use blue in order to create a dimensional update of the space; creating a uniform element in a space will help to articulate a space beyond. This uniform element; could this result by transforming the museum into a ‘blue cube’? There were he museum will become monochrome in reality, where parallel the works will be projected that fits your imagination This will be an extremely immersive experience. I rather go to a white cube where some blue paitings will create an infinity in space by it’s presence.

Random reaction reflect relationship representing research rhythm As seen in the blue examples above, blue had a play with dimensions, and was able to let a contrast less, flat world appear. Next to this blue could be used as a tool to let a contrast become visible; like it is with the chroma-key. The blue screen is able to let a contrast take place parallel to the visible in reality. A technical devise is needed to let the contrast appear. In one image, as well the filmed ‘object’ as well the projection can become visible, which creates depth. What could be the amalgamation of dispostive and diapositive? I’m looking for a way to blend dimensions, in order to create a new. With my work, I’m starting to make use of photography, without using a camera. Instead of light, I work with water to make an imprint on textile/paper. My works are diapositives, only inverted. The process of contrast is the inversion of the process where light is used. Overexposed for me will be a full space. What is a space exactly? I prefer to see space as a ‘dimensional variable’ element. And I see my work as a tool to define the dimensions of space. Halfway the process of writing, and working on this thesis somebody asked me: What do you really want to know?


In a first impulse I replied: Why is blue my favourite colour? The immateriality, the distance, the sky, water. Although something will appear in blue, it does not stay like this. The perception is blue. Water and sky appear blue, but in fact they are transparent. And just like water and the sky, blue is transparent when it will be used as a chroma-key. Blue is my favourite because it is an ‘open’ colour.

Violet void A grey zone is an area. A luminal space. A construction in between twomoments. One zone.


‘My use of light to infiltrate matter and architecture is undertaken with a view to provoking a perceptual experience wherein this materiality is made unstable, its resistance dissolved. This movement is often provoked by the brain itself.’ 56 — ANN VERONICA JANSSENS The experience of an artwork is sometimes overwhelming especially when it really drags you INTO the work. The immersion that is used to create attention forces us to create a form of personal information management by creating a mental filter that excludes unwanted visual expressions. Ann Veronica Janssens (1956) is using the immersion effect in Installation with Mist and Sound, 1999 in a different way. She makes the public not a viewer to the work, but the viewer is in the work. The room filled with white and opaque air re-orders the space and created several strong effects. The space became unreal because of the dreamy-like effect where the edges and ceilings where not really visible and could only be guessed. The use of a crystal-clear sound of a children’s voice on tape which reached the viewer’s body especially because of the combination of limited visibility and isolation.

56 Quote divided in two. Part 1 below: Part II above; My first « constructions », made during the mid-80s, were spatial extensions of existing architecture. These graftings at once formed and gave onto what I call « super spaces » : the spaces surrounding a given space, spaces without space, places for the capture of light, cement and glass cases, spaces conceived as springboards towards the void. It is this void that I try to set in motion, conferring upon it a kind of temporality. I always experiment with the possibilities of rendering fluid the perception of matter or architecture which I see as some kind of obstacle to movement and sculpture.

The light sculptures of Janssens refuse to yield to the pressure of objectification. By pushing back the limits of perception, by rendering visible the invisible, these experiences act as passages from one reality to another. It’s a question of thresholds between two states of perception, between shadow and light, the defined and the undefined, silence and explosion; the threshold where the image reabsorbs itself. Janssens investigates the permeability of contexts (architectural/social/cultural/ political) through effects even if she proposes a form of deconstruction that fragments our perception of a context. Do we really need to create something physical to create a work? Destroy to create. If we only add, and only want more without sacrificing anything to get it, consumerism can uncheck grow into a rampant greed with no sense of what our mass consumption of goods is costing society or the environment. Do we really need to destroy something physical to create a work? Manage to create. By managing, or control something, it is possible to create something new out of something pre-existing. By looking good, looking what is around, seeing the context, control it; openings can be found to create new work. Maybe a work could unfold in itself. Unfolding is not the contrary of folding, but follows up the following fold. The model for the science of matter is ‘origami’, or the art of folding paper. The unit of matter, the smallest element. Do we really need to see something physical to create a work?

Active air allows analogue anti-­ environment appear around artificial atmospheres The installation Your blind movement, 2010 57 by Olafur Eliasson (1967) made me start questioning what we perceive when we see a colour? Does colour need a surface to become visible? In this work, I as the spectator walked through thick opaque air that made the visual perception of the space impossible. From above the space a range of different coloured tube lights were lightening the room, which created coloured mist. When


Olafur Eliasson: Innen Stadt Außen in het Martin-Gropius Bau, Berlin, summer 2010


I went to see the installation, I was astonished by the realisation that all I experienced was colour. Because of the mist, there was ‘nothing’ to see. So it seemed that I saw only colour. No details. A monochrome experience. As if I was in a pool of colour. The mist reorganized the space, which created multiple effects. The dimension of the space seemed to change. I walked in a flat world, made out of one single colour. While moving through the space, the colours changed. Logic, technically well made, though beautiful. In this case, the mist was used to enable the experience of colour. But I could walk trough the mist, so actually, I walked trough the colour. The experience I had was a total monochrome surrounding of colour without a ‘visible’ surface.58 Surrounded by the work, I realized that I never see colour as colour. Colour is always the colour of something, on/in/at/under a surface, or an object. Hence, I wonder if colour could exist on its own. Is it free to move itself? The colour became a space. The colour seems to become corporeal in itself and created a synthesis of colour and space. 48

‘In order to experience these influences completely, the eye should be entirely surrounded with one colour; we should be in a room of one colour, or look through colored glass. We are identified with the hue; it attunes the eye and mind in mere unison with itself.’ 59 — GOETHE

distinctness which could not be brought here without quitting all the rest – and a ‘synthesis’ of these ‘views’. 60 — MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY My experience in the work of Eliasson was a colour-experience, and though I became very aware of my movement trough the space, I did not have the feeling to move blindly. Therefore the colour was too emphatic. The projects of the Danish-Icelandic artist turn spectators into participants, into co-producers, so to speak. Your Blind Movement not only makes the White Cube vanish in a coloured haze. Exhibition guests, too, disappear in it, only to suddenly take on form again. But still, the colour for me seemed to be the work. It became a colourful camouflage of the space. Installation with Mist and Sound of Janssens is – in my opinion – a more exact blind movement because while blindfolded, hearing will be sharpened. ‘Gazing at mist is an experience with contrasting effects. It appears to abolish all obstacles, materiality, the resistances specific to a given context, and at the same time, it seems to impart a materiality and tactility to light.’ 61 — ANN VERONICA JANSSENS This ambiguous effect of mist is talked about by Mieke Bal (1949), writer of Travelling Concepts in the Humanities (2002) and it is addressed through the term “incarnated gaze”.

Varnishes, transparent layers on a surface, can create a ‘depth’. In this depth, it is possible for the eye of the perceiver to ‘travel’ trough the surface (which is flat). In the work of Eliasson the mist created a ‘flat’ world. I literally travelled through the transparent surface, by moving, ‘through’ the surface, whereby the colour changed. Depth and ‘back’ (and ‘behind’) - - It is pre-eminently the dimension of the hidden. – (every dimension is of the hidden) - There must be depth since there is a point whence I see – since the world surrounds me. Depth is the means the things have to remain distinct, to remain things, while not being what I look at present. It is pre-eminently the dimension of the simultaneous. Without it there would not be a world or Being, there would only be a mobile zone of

58  T  aken in account that the mist is the surface, but the mist itself is a transparency, it is not an object. It has no defined borders, or it is a touchable surface. 59  Von Goethe, J. Wolfgang (1840) # 763

‘One moves in a space bathed in light, groping one’s way, without constraints and apparently without limits. One’s perception of time is transformed, there’s a slowing down if not a suspension. It’s as if one were in a slow-motion film with almost no images. All the markers have disappeared; the light illuminates nothing that could authorise our wandering. One’s eyes become glazed, one experiences a kind of amnesia, and one is returned to an interior space opening onto unheard of perspectives. The other is surely there, an appearance that, in the dense luminosity, could just as quickly disappear.’ 62 — ANN VERONICA JANSSENS In the both works of Janssens and Eliasson appears a total immersion, but by selecting senses to trigger a ‘monochrome sense experience’

60  61  62 

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1968) p. 219


arises. With monochrome sensation I mean the use of single sensations,. To create a play between visible and invisible. A play with light. Is in this play a form of camouflage appearing? Blinded by light, highlighted in colour. An abstract, minimalist camouflage. Abstract camouflage. By taking over the whole area, creating a new environment, Janssens and Eliasson both use mist in their works, but both used for a different purpose. The derivation of the word ‘camouflage’ is by the Newspaper The Sphere63 explored and tracked back to the 17thcentury France when the word ‘camouflage’ meant a puff of smoke blown into the face of someone with the malicious intent of blinding or confusing them. Another derivation is the French verb ‘camoufler’, meaning to make up for stage.


Daylight depth describes different dimension; disorienting dreamy ­dynamics Both works are a journey into the sensory experience of reality. The spaces are creating dizziness and bedazzlement. Both works have a certain minimalism, underscoring the fleeting. In Installation with Mist and Sound, the viewer is becoming the work instead of looking at the work. The viewer is part of the image. Is it possible that the viewer will never be able to see the picture? Because you have to go out to see it, but when you go out of the image, the image is not the same anymore. So being in the work, will make you part of the work and will never give you the opportunity to behold the work. You are IN the photo. The work is impossible to represent. It is all about the experience that you will have during the exhibition. The spatial effect makes you aware of being in the space. Eliasson wants to induce viewers with his installations to observe themselves while observing. Janssens is looking for a way to reorder the space, to change the definition of the space. It becomes a dimensional update. By Eliasson I see

63  T  he Sphere (full title: The Sphere: An Illustrated Newspaper for the Home and, later, The Sphere: The Empire’s Illustrated Weekly) was a British newspaper, published by London Illustrated Newspapers Ltd. weekly from 27 January 1900 until the closure of the paper on 27 June 1964 (Wikipedia)

an experiment. An experiment to experience colour. Colour is such a way that it creates a blind mo(m/v)ent. How to create a grey zone outside a white cube? In the works of Janssens and Eliasson, trough the mist there is a constant atmosphere in the space. These spaces are placed inside a museum, inside a White Cube. The space is artificial regulated in order to stay a grey zone. How could this artificial consistency, this ‘grey colour’ be applied into the ‘material’ world?

Object opens ordinary outsider In the lecture by Celene Condorelli as part of the Sandberg Series, (Goethe Institute Amsterdam) she spoke about curtains. About how curtains are a tool in the desire of change in function. Just like foldable objects, curtains can create an environment by opening/closing it. An empty or a full space. A curtain is a practical, ornamental nothing without a support. Curtains need a support in order to take place. What is a curtain without a structure? A piece of cloth fighting gravity? Could a curtain of mist be the middle in between a desire for change, and a reorganisation of space? Without moving, without adding materiality, but making something transparent appear, there is camouflage. It is invisible while by appearing it becomes extremely visible but in itself it is camouflage. A perfect zero. A hidden architecture. ‘I felt a deep necessity to visit deserted places, mountains; to reestablish a physical relationship with the cosmos, which is the only real environment, precisely because it can not be measured, foreseen, controlled or known…. It seemed to me that anything was to be regained we would have to begin by regaining microscopic gestures and elementary actions, the sense of one’s own position…’ — ETTORE SOTSASS

The Italian Radical Movement, which developed parallel to Arte Povera and Conceptual Art and around similar themes marked a very important time of analysis and critical reflection. This period, described by Ettore Sotsass as ‘ a period of emptiness and introvert meditation’ resulted for the art collective Memphis in looking at the many possibilities for the new, the unknown. The Memphis Group was an Italian design and architecture group started by Ettore Sottsass that designed Post Modern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects from 1981-



1987. Sottsass had a comprehensive philosophy whose designs were philosophical statements. Sotsass worked on a possibility to create an environment that is able to reflect who you are. His designs had a bodily approach and he took his body often as point of departure. Sotsass saw design as a form to make a statement, and it was more than a physical presence. Life as a ‘stage’: Sotsass saw life as a piece, a script that you live. Sotsass was looking for the link, for the place where craft takes shape and meaning within the fabric of existence.64 Memphis’ practice-philosophy is not simple, but manages to individualize the environment, there where the chromatic consciousness is evolving. For Memphis, colour is seen as an element of the non-official culture. All those who want to typify their designs use this colour. These ‘traces of life’ were made highly expressive and symbolic. This is why colour does not supersede and is not related to the structure, as it was for de Stijl and Bauhaus. It is also not a simple colour reference as in the PostModernism, but it is a ‘structural colour’. Memphis was a reaction to the gloomy grey appearance of the world of the 1960’s. In art-history there is no movement where Memphis would fit, even in the Post-modernism. The aesthetic of Memphis created a substantial area of new characters and formal language. Structure and handling of the verticals, surfaces, colour and space were given new meanings. In addition, the elements mentioned above were not conceived as a decorative element for enrichment later on, but formed a cohesive unit with the structure. Sottsass found in his trips through India and South America structurally different organized forms of life that lived deeper and more open to colour and to discussion on how to be and live. These experiences gave Sottsass the occasion to work on ‘new forms for colour’. With this, Sottsass challenged the treatment of surfaces fundamentally, not only colour. For Sottsass design was a way to question life, being, politics, life-needs and even design itself. The personal expression of the artist is highly visible in the work s of Memphis. Several materials were placed next to each other; natural/artificial, both were seen as even, due their specific qualities. Hierarchy between materials and objects disappeared – in my opinion – and everything became evenly visible which resulted for Memphis in the search to the many possibilities whereby a new, a new unknown could arise. In the book Metaphors (2002) Barbara Radice (1943) sets that the serie

64  Sotsass, Ettore. (2003) p. 11

photographs Decoration (1967) record an end of a journey for Sottsass commenting his thought on everyday life with the lightness and charm of a diary. Instead of asking questions, they recognize impermanence and the decoration is not only a formal act any more. Radice describes the decoration transforming into a rite. ‘Life can also be decorated with the design for its end.’ Public creativity; this myth of the 60’s; survived as a ‘deep echo’ of the new instruments and was part of an exchange of views. The 70’s had been a time where a big question mark was put after the design assumptions that were familiar. The Italian Radicant architecture group Superstudio proposed a HIDDEN ARCHITECTURE as conceptual architecture: an architecture that is only an image of itself and of their ‘unexploitable aphasia’. In reality, as the Italian architect Branzi (1938) mentioned, this new way of working was the end off quantitative, of mass, of communication and a return to a quest for a new culture. This break down of the traditional approach towards design, a new quality was found that no longer belonged to the utopia of the ‘great machine’ and of mass-production for the intellect. Gave this space for experience life, instead of understanding life by ratio? The communication of the design was prior to the information level. In the middle of the 70’s due the breaking down of the limits of design that had been going on throughout the radical phase and the new climate of conceptual culture led was to the maturation of a group of theoretical and design experiments called ‘design primario’. The clear form of the communication of ideas led to an extra care over the educational packaging of the work.

Manipulating material means mind mixture monochromatic moving mute The ‘soft structures’ that were created by ‘design primaro’ shifted the attention to the recovery and control of physical parameters of space. They tried to make a step towards a new definition of the real quality of an environment in work and living spaces, away from the abstractions where the modern architecture was based on. The quality of an environment concerned as well the air-conditioning, or its insulation from noise. The conditions for the use of a space were not merely technical but actually cultural, ‘simply because modifying any one of these structures profoundly alters the expressive value of the



ambient’65. Branzi outlined the introduction of a strong smell of mint as a sole element of ‘window dressing’ for the exhibition Italian New Renaissance (1980, Rotterdam) in collaboration with Ettore Sottsass Jr. This smell of mint was intended to fill the space around Branzi’s prototypes and embroideries and functioned as a critical comment on the setting. Smell is – in my opinion – a mute colour. In order to design colours, light and decorations, new instruments that differed from the traditional pencil, square and compass were required. The new instruments of ‘Design primario’ had to be worked out in advance and contain pre-selected information; they had to be open structures within which individual or users could proceed further. The system ‘Fisiolight’ (1976) is an example of this kind of preplanning that is carried out in ‘controlled-light-curtains’. This system consisted out of coloured and decorated curtains that ‘would not alter the physical and colorimetric characteristics of sunlight.’66 This system could be used to as a perfectly neutral decorative filter or, alternatively could produce a balance between warm or cold light accord to the different demands on the product. Daylight is an important physical factor in buildings for public space. Hospitals, schools, which could be regulated by the use of Fisiolight. With Fisiolight, the curtain was not any more solely decoration and became an active filter that had a qualitative control over the natural light in the space, without losing its decorative function. The curtain was able due toning down the intensity of the rays of light to preserve the colorimetric characteristics of sunlight in their entirety. ‘This system of natural ergonomy of daylight was based on an ­original and practical procedure: an initial range of colours was identified, forty-seven in all, arranged in varied shades; these colours were then marked as points within a simplified projection of the chromatic solid. Having chosen the design or pattern to be reproduced on the curtain, one had to identify its colours from the colour chart and then join the corresponding points by a broken line, producing a polygonal and irregular geometric figure. By calculating the barycentre fell around the axis of the greys, i.e. in the centre of the circle, this meant that the chromatic effect and illumination of the curtain was neutral, in that it did not affect the quality of the sunlight. If the barycentre fell in the bleu-green or red-yellow sector,

65  Branzi, Andrea (1984) p.100 66  Idib. p. 100

it meant that the chromatic effect of the curtain, it was sufficient to shift the barycentre f the figure by altering it’s corners, i.e. the colours selected for reproduction of the pattern, until it fell within the chosen chromatic area. Thus, by the sophisticated use of simple techniques, such as printing on fabric and an innovative exploitation of the principles of colorimetry, it was possible to begin controlling a sophisticated ‘soft’ structure that is of great importance in an ­environment for which the sole quality proposed has too often been that of architectural composition.’ 67 The curtain itself could regulate the space. The curtain from Centro Design Montefibre was able to produce a warm or a cold effect. The curtain supported the light in the space. The curtain became a support. In the work of Eliasson the environment tends to induce the viewers to observe themselves while observing, Memphis worked – in my opinionon environments that were an inducing to observation. Doing architecture did not only consist of building houses, or constructing useful things in general, but architecture became a tool to express oneself by communicating, by creating an ‘own’ cultural habitat, an own environment that because of the distinction of labour in society became separated from each other. ‘Doing architecture became an activity of free expression, just as making love means not just producing children but communicating through sex.’ 68 Could I see Design Primario as a quest for a new culture? A new form of colour? A soft structure, in the form of Fisiolight is able to create a grey zone. It is an amalgamation of contrast, an inverted camouflage: The space adapts trough the curtains a single form. The perception of the space does not change. Is the space (or colour) a moving still, or is colour here able to become a space. It seems that grey is not taking place but becomes a place because it regulates the space, and becomes a fixed form, not changing in itself, but ‘fixed’ because the world around the colour transforms itself.

67  68 

Ibib. p. 101 Ibid. p. 101


The world is blue. Yves Klein



Knowlegde Where do colours take place? There where you perceive them. They take place in the brain itself. Parallel to the visible. Here it opens dimensions. I experience that language is able to let colour take place. Again, it is taking place in the brain itself. On the other hand language is not sufficient to describe colour. Colour is an experience, a code, related to the context it is able to appear in different shades. Colours themselves are artists in transformation. Because of this I did not found one form of colour, or know exactly how colours take place. The descriptions around the colours – blue, grey, black, white and nude – of this thesis are in my opinion ‘open’ colours that I can use to construct a parallel landscape with. ‘To study is not to find a clear explanation, but another twist of meaning. 69


In the art of writing, parallel to poetry, I found a way to study my own language. Still; colour is an ever changing self, and will open up dimensions, there where used in the right context, or seen with the right technology it appears transparent. I enjoyed opening up dimensions for my own knowledge by travelling around colour. If it is communicating; I hope. If not; I trust the atmosphere that did take place for you while reading.




Quality question Bal, Mieke. Travelling Concept in the

Gerritsen, Frans. Het Fenomeen Kleur. de Bilt,

Humanities; a Rough Guide. Toronto,

Cantecleer, 1972

University of Toronto, 2002 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Theory of Baudrillard, Jean. The System of Objects.

Colours. London, John Murray, 1840

London, Verso Books, 2005 Gordon, W. Terrence. Marshall McLuhan: Benjamin, Walter. Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter

Unbound. Corte Madera (CA), Gingko Press

seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit.

Inc., 2005

Nijmegen, SUN, 1970 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The visible and the 60

Branzi, Andrea. The Hot House; Italian New

invisible. Evantson, Northwestern University

Wave Design. London, Thames and Hudson Ltd.,

Press, 1968

1984 Newark, Tim. Camouflage. London, Caygill, Howard. Walter Benjamin; the colour

Thames&Hudson, 2007

of experience. London, Routledge, 2005 Sottsass, Ettore. Metaphors. Milano, Skira Conley, Tom. Gilles Deleuze; The Fold, Leibniz

Editore, 2002

and the Baroque. Paris, Minnesota Press, 1993 Taussig, Michael. What Color Is the Sacred? Ferrrari, Marco. Colors for Survival; Mimicry

Chicago/London, The University

and camouflage in nature. Charlottesville,

of Chicage Press, Ltd., 2009

Thomasson Grant & Howell, 1993 Westgeest, Helen. Take Place; The site of H.W. Fowler, F.G. Fowler. The Consise Oxford

Installation Art, Hovering Between Inner

Dictionary of Current English. London, Oxford

Outer Places. Amstedam, Valiz, 2009

University Press, 1964 Quin, Bradley. The Fashion of Architecture. Frame Publishers. Colour hunting; How Colour

Influences What We Buy, Make and Feel. Amsterdam, Frame Publishers, 2011

Oxford, Berg, 2003



This publication is a result of CONTEXTILE; the graduation project of Aliki van der Kruijs, and is part of a research into colour, context, text & textile.

Parallel landscape Where colours take place. Graphic Design Lena Steinborn & Aliki van der Kruijs English editor Ricarda Franzen Printing XeroX in ten copies

Thank you all who have been a support, specially you who know it. Thank you C for seeing a deception in the first version; it was a good work to continue my travel back towards point of departure. Graduate Program The Dirty Art Department Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam Head of department Jerszy Seymour Theory tutor and co-director-course Catherine Geel

ŠAliki van der Kruijs, May 2012.

Parall Lands le epac

Parallel landscape  
Parallel landscape  

Colour is everywhere. Everything is coloured. Colour is always the characteristicsof something. Colour is an ever-changing self. Can colour...