…’How do we see black now?’ Shah interjects. ‘As a dynamic color?’ There is excited chatter. Black has shed its cultural baggage as a negative color. The Italians ‘did a big statement’ about black. The big Yohji Yamamoto retrospective down the road at the V&A. The noncolor that is all colors. Exciting new materials that help black transcend its blackness.
So the new black is … black? Leatrice Eiseman, a color consultant and the sole American at the meeting, (the sole ‘pragmatic American,’ as she describes herself), speaks for the first time. ‘What I fear about making a general sweeping statement about black is that we know we’ve been there—who doesn’t know about black? What’s new about it?’ Animated conversation ensues.
Twice a year, in some European capital, in a room purposely chosen to be drab and sparse—so as not to influence the color mood—Shah gathers a stable of colorists, each of whom works with his or her own country’s national color groups (who traditionally have worked with textile companies and others to set color standards), as well as consulting with companies ranging from Airbus to Zara to Union Carbide. Where the rest of us see black, these are people who talk about the ‘family of black.’ Over two days, they will each pitch a palette concept, organized roughly around a theme that has been chosen in advance (this time, it’s ‘unity’), that they believe will be dominant in Spring/Summer 2013. The results are published in Pantone View, a $750 publication that is purchased by companies across a broad consumer landscape, from fashion designers to supermarket chains to the floral industry. (‘Everybody’s into white flowers at the moment,’ Shah tells me, ‘there are definitely movements, even in flowers.’)
The meeting is a high-concept show-and-tell fused with a cultural anthropology seminar, with Shah alternately playing the role of interlocutor and air traffic controller. Like novelist William Gibson’s trend-hunter Cayce Pollard, Shah can unleash a torrent of cultural memes on command. Expounding in one instance on the ‘unity’ theme, he riffs: ‘We’re talking a lot about community, neighborliness, moving from macro to micro economy. The whole ‘rurban’ thing—local food, local chocolate. At the same time, the simplification of things, reducing complications. Don’t make any instruction manuals—things should be intuitive. Computers that will think for you, read your gestures, actually tell you when to go shopping. You go into Gap, it starts suggesting products for you, connecting your friend’s taste to your taste. It’s all about choosing together.’ He pauses, a quick intake of breath, before firing: ‘How many people use Twitter here?’ ‘Oh, God,’ retorts the Frenchwoman.
…Is there an overall concept to “/SYS”? I was thinking about it as a stoner pirate webcast from the future. Overall though, I worked on “/SYS” from an intuitive place. I think the music video is a great medium to try things that might not necessarily work for a single-channel video piece, but really take off when they are in a new context.
Commuters walk through a thunderstorm in Manhattan, New York.
On Twitter, you could watch the storm roll through New England, to New York and down as an assemblage of photos and exclamations. Frank Chimero’s tweets might be the most instructive, a narrative within the meta-narrative. Just like this image. The story is there. The trick is seeing it.
Sentences are made wonderfully one at a time. Who makes them. Nobody can make them because nobody can what ever they do see.
All this makes sentences so clear I know how I like them.
What is a sentence mostly what is a sentence. With them a sentence is with us about us all about us we will be willing with what a sentence is. A sentence is that they cannot be carefully there is a doubt about it.
The great question is can you think a sentence. What is a sentence. He thought a sentence. Who calls him to come which he did.
…What is a sentence. A sentence is a duplicate. An exact duplicate is depreciated. Why is a duplicated sentence not depreciated. Because it is a witness. No witnesses are without value.
— Gertrude Stein, from “Sentences and Paragraphs.” (via ecantwell)
Oase Nr. 7, a personal oasis with a diameter of 8 metres protruded from the façade of the Museum Fridericianums during the 1972 Documenta.
The exhibition, titled Inner World / Innen Welt: The Projects of Haus-Rucker-Co., 1967-1992, shows archival drawings and collages, photographs, models and original ephemera spanning Haus-Rucker-Co.’s 25-year collaboration. The show marks the 20-year anniversary of Haus-Rucker-Co.’s dissolution. Haus-Rucker-Co. was founded in 1967 by Laurids Ortner, Günther Zamp Kelp and Klaus Pinter, later joined by Manfred Ortner. Already working together as Ortner & Ortner on major building commissions from the mid-1980s, Manfred and Laurids Ortner went on to develop an extensive portfolio of built projects, propelling the preoccupations of Haus-Rucker-Co. into a new realm.
Is anything central? Orchards flung out on the land, Urban forests, rustic plantations, knee-high hills? Are place names central? Elm Grove, Adcock Corner, Story Book Farm? As they concur with a rush at eye level Beating themselves into eyes which have had enough Thank you, no more thank you. And they come on like scenery mingled with darkness The damp plains, overgrown suburbs, Places of known civic pride, of civil obscurity.
These are connected to my version of America But the juice is elsewhere. This morning as I walked out of your room After breakfast crosshatched with Backward and forward glances, backward into light, Forward into unfamiliar light, Was it our doing, and was it The material, the lumber of life, or of lives We were measuring, counting? A mood soon to be forgotten In crossed girders of light, cool downtown shadow In this morning that has seized us again?
I know that I braid too much on my own Snapped-off perceptions of things as they come to me. They are private and always will be. Where then are the private turns of event Destined to bloom later like golden chimes Released over a city from a highest tower? The quirky things that happen to me, and I tell you, And you know instantly what I mean? What remote orchard reached by winding roads Hides them? Where are these roots?
It is the lumps and trials That tell us whether we shall be known And whether our fate can be exemplary, like a star. All the rest is waiting For a letter that never arrives, Day after day, the exasperation Until finally you have ripped it open not knowing what it is, The two envelope halves lying on a plate. The message was wise, and seemingly Dictated a long time ago, but its time has still Not arrived, telling of danger, and the mostly limited Steps that can be taken against danger Now and in the future, in cool yards, In quiet small houses in the country, Our country, in fenced areas, in cool shady streets.
Auckland NZ. That’s the thing about modernism, is that it doesn’t care where the fuck you are. You are always right now, even if that right now is long ago. Still, super nice digs. (Taken with Instagram)
Imagine a man standing in front of you, perfectly describing your physical appearance and reciting a thorough biography of your life in Mandarin Chinese. Assuming you don’t speak Mandarin, would you know it? Could you recognize yourself in his language? Take a moment. He’s not just talking to you, but talking about you, referring to information you know better than you know anything else in the world. Still, it seems unlikely. There’s a chance you could get a word or two, a concept simple enough, but your understanding could only come from features usually considered outside the scope of normal language. Something like onomatopoeia can communicate such information, though even that’s not foolproof (round up the foreign language speakers you know and ask them what sound a dog makes.) Otherwise, you’re left with pointing. Consider this a thought experiment.
So, another question. If your computer started talking to you, right now, would you know it? Go read Bruce Sterling’s speech for Turing’s centenary and come back. Could you know it? The issue is otherness, “radical otherness” as Matthew Battles says. The issue is that we barely understand what one and other mean, under the best of circumstances. The issue is Searle’s “Chinese Room” thought experiment and, evidently, it’s not going away.