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Human beings are able to distinguish minute variations in color. Vilém Flusser found the idea exciting that colors might provide a means to bring together scientic (rational, causal) thinking and aesthetic experience in a new phenomenological communication form which could produce revolutionary new (negentropic) information in society. Particularly important for this theory is the notion that colors are quantiable and are calculable using computers. Computers can make very ne quantitative distinctions between colors enabling new color languages that articulate qualitatively new forms of life.

Colors, programmable by computers, appear to herald new modalities of transforming the world through technical means. Flusser, in his extensive correspondence with the Swiss graphic designer and typographer Karl Gerstner, predicted an impending age where phosphorescent bunnies will hop around in purple meadows, a form of biological “painting” through the mathematical computation of genetic materials.

In a letter to Gerstner, Flusser wrote: “[…] color is no longer taken to be content of form but a primary constituent of form. Alternative to the traditional Kantian ‘Anschauungsformen’ timespace [is] now time-color.” (Correspondence with Karl Gerstner, January 29, 1989)

There is much ambiguity in Flusser’s enthusiasm: the endless yet precise manipulation of color values made possible by computers is presented as the harbinger of complete mastery of all matter through programmable devices. Colors, although not existing physically, co-constitute the world, and since computers can manipulate them precisely, computers can ostensibly reconstitute the world to serve our needs.

Original article by Baruch Gottlieb in Flusseriana

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color.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 (external edit)