Button: Digital-Imaging Techniques
Button: Color Blind
Button: Yoruba Belt

In the classic, On a Philosophical Inquiry on Being Blue, William Gass ruminated philosophically on color and its meaning. The authors of this text are particularly taken by its completeness in helping us to understand the realm of meaning applied to color. Blue may be reality itself, Gass points out. "It is the specific color of orgone energy within and without the organism. . . . It is a fact that the color blue is the color seen in all functions which are related to the cosmic or organismic energy . . . protoplasm of any kind, in any cell or bacterium is blue . . . thunderclouds are deeply blue . . . water in deep lakes and in the ocean is blue . . . the illumination in evacuated tubes charged with energy is blue."

Blue is the color of cyberspace as represented in popular culture. Hardly any symbolic representation of it exists without some spectrum of the color. As Gass points out, blue is a color we associate with sex, death, and control. Blue is the color of IBM. But does blue have to represent technology? Might we infuse cyberspace with the joie de vivre colors of the baroque? Might we see cyberspace less forebodingly, less as a filament but as an experience, changing the mood and temperament of the colors of our lives? One of the first things people often do when they get a computer is to personalize the desktop with a colorful photograph.

The nature of blue in painting is such that when the pigment is applied to the canvas in a flat and even manner it seems to neither protrude forward nor recess backward, but floats in a kind of ethereal neutrality. For this reason, modern painters experimented radically with the color, particularly the abstract expressionists Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt. In these paintings, color becomes the subject matter. French painter Yves Klein was unconcerned with the representation of an object (in painting or sculpture), but with the blue itself, which he saw as the representation of the immaterial, the sovereign liberation of the spirit. His is a non-representation that emphasizes the object as an end in itself—color. The paintings are extensions of a concept of nothingness—pure minimalism.