Archive for the ‘Color (vol 2.3)’ Category
It’s that time of year when college and graduate students begin their new semesters, and we can almost feel the electricity as brain cells come out of hibernation and begin their collision course of learning.
Some of us in the work-a-day world (OK, the entire GLIMPSE journal staff) get a little jealous every fall and spring when students begin sharpening their pencils (or whatever gadgetry the youth of today use to commit ideas to mind).
Imagine our delight when MIT professor, Dr. Caroline A. Jones approached us about using the entire issue of GLIMPSE #4, Color for her Advanced Study in the History of Art: Color seminar students’ first week’s reading. We were both honored, and intrigued by the course description:
…explore [Color's] robust histories as a set of chemical products, a conventional naming system, a racial category, a branch of psychophysics, an anxiety-provoking discourse in art and architecture, and a huge industry attempting to both stabilize chroma and capitalize on its emotional connotations.
We wish all of Dr. Jones’ students a semester of light-bending and mind-bending learning!
Lying dormant in the archive of Britain’s National Media Museum for decades, what everyone thought were black and white films, turned out to be the first color motion pictures ever made. British photographer Edward Turner made the films using his 1899 patented color film process in about 1903, shortly before his untimely death:
A complicated process, it involved photographing successive frames of black-and-white film through blue, green and red filters. Using a special projector…these were combined on a screen to produce full-colour images.
Highlights of these never-before-shared test films can now be seen on YouTube via our 21st-century RGB screens, and of course, at the museum itself, where the specially-formatted projector can be viewed as well.
Thanks to GLIMPSE subscriber, Francis H., for sharing this with GLIMPSE readers! A very well-timed discovery with our Cinema issue.
Chemists at Oregon State University (OSU) unexpectedly discovered a new, highly-durable, blue pigment this month — what may, in fact, be the “perfect blue.” OSU issued a statement: “Through much of recorded human history, people around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue, often with limited success…Cobalt blue, developed in France in the early 1800s, can be carcinogenic. Prussian blue can release cyanide. Other blue pigments are not stable when exposed to heat or acidic conditions.”
The OSU chemists combined manganese oxide (which appears black), with novel electronic compounds at the temperature of around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, solid crystals formed which contained manganese ions that absorbed only red and green wavelengths, leaving a blue light reflection.
After the manganese containing oxide cooled, the new blue color remained. White yttrium oxide and pale yellow idium oxide were added to stabilize the crystal structure after cooling—if the yttrium oxide and pale yellow idium oxide were not added to stabilize the crystal structure after cooling, the blue color would disappear or fade. Collaborating on the work were researchers in the Materials Department at the University of California/Santa Barbara. To read more about the discovery that would have made artist Yves Klein jealous, see the OSU press announcement.
And, in tribute of this new blue tone, please enjoy this song, “Good Morning Blues” by the American Folk singer Huddle William Ledbetter, aka Lead Belly.
The image to the left was taken by Oregon State University Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, Mas Subramanian.
Written by Angie Mah
The Language of Color curated by Hopi Hoekstra will be on exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History from now until May 2010. Be sure to check out Glimpse Journal’s conversation with Dr. Hoekstra in the Nov. 2009 Color Issue (to be released in the next week).
Be happy you learned this little ditty before a foray into the Southern woodland regions of North America. This saying originated in North America as a way to distinguish the venomous coral snake–recognizable by its red, yellow, and black banded skin–from nonvemonous look-a-likes. There are only two species of coral snake found in North America, the eastern coral snake, or harlequin snake (Micrurus Fulvius) and the Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus). “Red on yellow” refers to the red and yellow striped bands that run down the the snake’s body. Variations of the phrase include, “Red on Yellow Kills a Fellow, Red on Black, Venom Lack,” and “Red on yellow kills a fellow; red on black, pat it on the back.” Unfortunately the saying’s usefulness wanes outside of North America, where in regions like India, the coral snakes have different color and band patterns on their skin. The image above is of the charlatan coral snake, the scarlet king snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Elapsoides).
Image by Flickr Member: Pierson Hill
Congratulations to Glimpse Staff Poet and Contributing Editor, Arto Vaun, for his High Commendation by the 2009 Forward Prize! One of Vaun’s works has been selected for High Commendation by the Forward Prize (the Pulitzer equivalent of the UK) as one of the best poems published in the UK in 2009. Vaun states: “I’m honored to be alongside some stellar company like Anne Carson, Sharon Olds, CK Williams, Mary Oliver, Stanley Moss, and Andrew Motion.” His first book of poems, Capillarity, was published this year by Carcanet Press and recently reviewed by the Guardian alongside John Updike’s Endpoint and Other Poems. The poem for nomination can be found in the Forward Book of Poetry which was released on Oct. 1st by Faber & Faber. Vaun joined the Glimpse team in August 2009, and his inaugural poem for Glimpse, featured below, will appear in our upcoming Color (vol 2.3) issue:
Singed Bedroom, Weekend Afternoon
I painted the walls plum and hung sheer
Curtains so when they caught fire from the atoms
Rushing from my body this afternoon
It was the loveliest thing I had seen
The rain came down like a song as I was
Disintegrating seamlessly all electric soft colors
I turned into something solar and crackling
Watching from my twin bed
How I wanted to reach out to my own going
As a spirit might want to examine itself in a photo
Barely present in a spot of faded yellow light
Looking hard squinting and asking Is that me
Congratulations to this year’s Nobel prize in physics recipients!
On Tuesday Oct. 6, 2009 at 11:45 am, the recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics were announced at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. One half of the prize was awarded to Charles K. Kao for his research in glass fiber optics, and the other half of the prize was evenly divided between Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for their invention of the charge-coupled device, or CCD.
In 1966 with his college George A. Hockham at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, Kao proposed a solution for the then thought implausible transmission of long range information technology. They suggested that impure glass particles inhibited long range light transmissions in optical fibers. By chemically purifying the glass with fused quartz and fused silica, Kao purposed a method of extracting an ultra-thin fiber thread that would carry at least 1% of light over the distance of 1 kilometer. Today this glass fiber optics technology is fused with our everyday lives and employed in various forms (like the internet), allowing for instantaneous transnational and global cable communication.
In 1969, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith of Bell Laboratories discovered the CCD while drafting the proposal for a technological information storage device. What they came up with instead was a light transmission technology, a digital image sensor, based on Albert Einstein’s theory of the photoelectric effect. When particles of light enter the light sensitive silicone plates, the CCD, electrons in the photocells emit at equal proportions as the incoming light, transferring the incoming optical image into a digital one in the form of pixels; opening the door for even more novel inventions like pixelated digicams, 96 megapixel images of outer planets on the Hubble telescope, and internet porn. The image above is of a star formation called the Orion Nebula. It was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2006.
For more information about the 2009 Nobel laureates visit the Nobel prize website.
Red Sky at Night, Sailors’ Delight. Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors Take Warning!
This popular saying was used in the European Middle Ages to predict the day’s weather forecast. The adage, “red sky at night, sailors’ delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning” was used as early as the 14th century as a mnemonic device for a common belief that the color of the sky predicted the forthcoming weather conditions. The adage is rooted in a mixture of hard science and superstitious lore.
Sunlight appears white because it is made up of an evenly mixed spectrum of visible colors that range in wavelength from .75 micrometers red to .45 micrometers blue. The sky appears blue in the afternoon because the wavelengths are traveling through a condensed amount of atmospheric space and interacting with smaller particles. The small particles in the atmosphere cause the short blue wavelengths to scatter at a higher rate than the longer red wavelengths.
When the sun rises or sets, sunlight travels through a larger area of the earth’s atmosphere than at noontime. The blue is filtered from the light and longer red and yellow wavelengths remain visible. A red sunrise or sunset occurs when the sky is clear in the direction of the sun. When the sky is red at night, the sun is setting in the west. This means the light coming from the west is traveling through a clear sky and good weather lies ahead for the next day. When the sky is red in the morning, it indicates clear skies in the east; this then means that the good weather is behind the traveler. The adage lacks accuracy because it assumes that the traveler is always moving along the route of a prevailing westerly wind. A storm or hurricane that creates its own geostrophic path could disrupt this rule of thumb—clouds appearing from the opposite direction of the sunlight can reflect the red light, causing the sky to appear red from all directions. Despite the lack of accuracy in these predictions, the adage was given common credence because rural and maritime economies relied on fair weather.
Here is an early excerpt of the phrase written in Middle English from Matthew XVI in the Wyclif Bible, 1395:
“The eeuenynge maad, ye seien, It shal be cleer, for the heuene is lijk to reed; and the morwe, To day tempest, for heuen shyneth heuy, or sorwful.”
Are there other popular adages that reference color in similar ways?
Fox-Kemper, Baylor. 2002. Look for Signs that Foretell Tomorrow’s Weather. SAIL, September.
Martin, Gary. 2009. Meanings and Origins of Phrases, Sayings and Idioms. Phrases, Sayings and Idioms at The Finder Index. http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/red-sky-at-night.html (accessed Sept. 22, 2009).
Image by Flickr Member: Jeffedoe
The Gund Kwock Asian Women Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe began with a small desire: to dance. But like learning any new dance, the initial steps were hard. “I’d seen lion dance many, many times,” recalls troupe founder Reverend Cheng Iaam Tan, “but one day, I saw a performance right up close, and it looked really good! I thought—I can do this! So, if I can do this, other women can too.”
Gund Kwock started in 1998 in the donated space of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) of Boston. The troupe, currently with twenty permanent members and growing, is what Reverend Tan believes to be the only all-female lion dance troupe in the United States. “Our goal is Asian women empowerment and community contribution,” Reverend Tan says with a smile of determination, “The challenging thing was recruiting a teacher. It’s not heard of to teach women lion dance, and I was very lucky to find Eddie Lau, who is our sifu.” Reverend Tan met Eddie Lau through her husband’s group of friends eleven years ago. In the video above Gund Kwock is practicing a dragon dance for the 2008 August Moon Festival in their new space at the China Trade Center. The lion and dragon dance is divided between Northern and Southern style, differences between the northern and Southern styles are identified by movements, gestures and costume. Northern style costumes are hair-like and come in variations of red, orange or green dress. Southern style lion costumes look a little like soft scales coming in color variations of gold, white, black, red, orange, and green.
Lions are not indigenous to China and numerous histories and folklore speculate their arrival. It is generally accepted that the animal arrived in China during the era of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). One history is that the lions arrived in China along the Silk Road as a gift from merchants in the current regions of Iran and Afghanistan. The lions were presented as a gift in exchange for use of the trade route. All of these stories present the lion as a symbol of courage, prosperity and good fortune. Today, the lion dance is performed during festivals and new business openings as a symbolic warding-away of all things bad and welcoming-in of all things good. “There are lots of stories about the history of lion dance,” says Reverend Tan, “one story tells about a monster that would torment a village on a yearly basis—destroying crops, ruining property and taking lives. The villagers tried fighting the monster with the help of other animals but none of these solutions were successful until they found the lion. The lion fought with the monster and defeated it, promising to come back the next year. When the monster came back, the lion had been recruited by the emperor to guard the imperial court and was unable to leave its post. The villagers came up with a solution to create a costume to impersonate the lion and succeeded in warding off the monster themselves.
For more information about the Gund Kwock Asian Women Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe and view upcoming shows please check visit their web site: http://www.gundkwok.org/about/index.html
To view more videos of Gund Kwok performances please visit Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gund+kwok&search_type=&aq=f
師 傅 – pronounced “sifu” means teacher
Gund Kwok Asian Women Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe. “What is Lion Dance: History and Folklore.” http://www.gundkwok.org/about/index.html (accessed on Oct. 1, 2009).
Hong Kong Luck Kung Fu Club . Chinese Lion Dance History. http://www.hongluck.org/lion-dance-history.html (accessed on Oct. 1, 2009).
Video and words by Angie Mah