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kafkasapartment:

Bridge and Study of Volumes (Ponte e studio di volumi), 1914. Mario Chiattone. India ink and watercolor on paper

kafkasapartment:

Bridge and Study of Volumes (Ponte e studio di volumi), 1914. Mario Chiattone. India ink and watercolor on paper

medievalpoc:

medievalpoc:

I came across a very interesting article recently in regard to western society and the use of color, which explores colonial history and historical context.

But consider this: in the things that we make or buy, color tends to be reined in. While there are some rule-breakers out there, generally speaking, we think that bright colors are acceptable in limited doses, but too much vivid color can seem like an assault on the senses, or we just dismiss it as tacky.

For instance, it would be considered fashionable to wear a bright pink tie, so long as the suit is gray, but in general, we would find it eccentric or odd to wear a bright pink suit with a gray tie. And in terms of home decor, we’ve had plenty of heated debates about how tacky or inconsiderate it is to paint one’s home in a “loud” color, and it’s been reported that the most popular color for home exteriors is white.

Chromophobia is marked, not just by the desire to eradicate color, but also to control and to master its forces. When we do use color, there’s some sense that it needs to be controlled; that there are rules to its use, either in terms of its quantity or its symbolic applications (e.g., don’t paint your dining room blue because it suppresses appetite). Please note that I’m not arguing against color psychology; it’s undeniable that certain colors carry certain cultural assumptions and associations, a fact that has led anthropologist Michael Taussig to argue that color should be considered a manifestation of the sacred.

But what I am arguing is that there is a pervasive idea that color gets us in the gut: it’s seductive, emotional, compelling. Color, in the words of nineteenth-century art theorist Charles Blanc, often “turns the mind from its course, changes the sentiment, swallows the thought.”

According to some art critics, sensory anthropologists, and historians, this mutual attraction and repulsion to color has centuries-old roots, bound up in a colonial past and fears of the unknown.

Michael Taussig has recounted that from the seventeenth century, the British East India Company centered much of its trade on brightly colored, cheap, and dye-fast cotton textiles imported from India. Because of the Calico Acts of 1700 and 1720, which supported the interests of the wool and silk weaving guilds, these textiles could only be imported into England with the proviso that they were destined for export again, generally to the English colonies in the Caribbean or Africa.

These vibrant textiles played a key part in the African trade, and especially in the African slave trade, where British traders would use the textiles to purchase slaves. According to Michael Taussig, these trades are significant not only because they linked chromophilic areas like India and Africa, but also because “color achieved greater conquests than European-instigated violence during the preceding four centuries of the slave trade. The first European slavers, the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, quickly learned that to get slaves they had to trade for slaves with African chiefs and kings, not kidnap them, and they conducted this trade with colored fabrics in lieu of violence.” Ironically, many of these slaves were then put to work in the colonies cultivating plants like indigo, that yielded dyes whose monetary values sometimes surpassed that of sugar.

In England, contemporaries often called the Indian textiles “rags” or “trash” and scorned their bright colors, and in Europe more generally, bright colors were taken as a sign of degeneracy and inferiority. The German writer Goethe famously stated that “Men in a state of nature, uncivilized nations and children, have a great fondness for colors in their utmost brightness,” whereas “people of refinement” avoid vivid colors (or what he called “pathological colors”).

In short, a love of bright color marked one as uncivilized, as not possessing taste, as being “foreign” or other. Color represented the “mythical savage state out of which civilization, the nobility of the human spirit, slowly, heroically, has lifted itself — but back into which it could always slide” (Batchelor, 23).

This danger of descent, of falling into degeneracy, disorientation, and excess, resulted in a valorization of the “generalized white” mentioned above. According to Batchelor, prejudice against color “masks a fear: a fear of contamination and corruption by something that is unknown or appears unknowable,” and the highly minimal, white spaces of contemporary architecture mark an attempt to rationalize and strictly limit an interior, to stop its merging with the world outside.

The “hollow, whited chamber, scraped clean, cleared of any evidence of the grotesque embarrassments of an actual life. No smells, no noises, no colour; no changing from one state to another and the uncertainty that comes with it.”

Read More

You can also read subsequent conversations on this topic at medievalpoc here

eleanasound:

The Last Japanese Mermaids 

For nearly two thousand years, Japanese women living in coastal fishing villages made a remarkable livelihood hunting the ocean for oysters and abalone, a sea snail that produces pearls. They are known as Ama. The few women left still make their living by filling their lungs with air and diving for long periods of time deep into the Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers.

In the mid 20th century, Iwase Yoshiyuki returned to the fishing village where he grew up and photographed these women when the unusual profession was still very much alive. After graduating from law school, Yoshiyuki had been given an early Kodak camera and found himself drawn to the ancient tradition of the ama divers in his hometown. His photographs are thought to be the only comprehensive documentation of the near-extinct tradition in existence

saloandseverine:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Richard Brooks, 1958

backstreetsbackalright:

The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938)

backstreetsbackalright:

The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938)

notordinaryfashion:

Stephane’ Rolland Haute Couture Fall 2014-15

notordinaryfashion:

Stephane’ Rolland Haute Couture Fall 2014-15

Let’s not talk. We’re no good at it. With you I’m useless with words. As if somehow I had to learn to speak all over again, as if the words I needed haven’t been invented yet. We’re cowards. Come back to bed. At least there I feel I have you for a little. For a moment. For a catch of the breath. You let go. You ache and tug. You rip my skin.
Sandra Cisneros, Never Marry a Mexican (via mujeristaxicana)

jshawback:278 feb 12 @jerryshawback

jshawback:278 feb 12 @jerryshawback

skunkbear:

This is corn! (Image courtesy of Greg Schoen/Native Seeds)
Glass Gem Corn, to be precise. We’ve got the story of how these brilliant kernels (and other designer crops) came to be.  Blue tomatoes! Pinberries! Terrestrial wasabi!

skunkbear:

This is corn! (Image courtesy of Greg Schoen/Native Seeds)

Glass Gem Corn, to be precise. We’ve got the story of how these brilliant kernels (and other designer crops) came to be.  Blue tomatoes! Pinberries! Terrestrial wasabi!

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