Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Edges of Color: An exploration of colored light in a tech culture environment
David Harris
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of California, Santa Cruz
Thesis Supervisor
Jennifer Parker
Supervisor e-mail
parker1 AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Soraya Murray, Adam W. Brown
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Digital Arts and New Media
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
science art, tech culture, light, color, LEDs
Abstract: 200-500 words
Edges of Color is a platform for immersing viewers in an abstract color environment. It shows static or dynamic color patterns on an 8’x8’ wall-mounted display of 256 4”-square color pixels, each of which can be nearly 17 million colors. The piece is an exploration of what is possible in colored light (in contrast to paint), along with a set of specific displayed pieces, with reference to the color paintings of Gerhard Richter, Damien Hirst, and others. The piece is infused with the science, psychology, and perception of color, but presents as a contemplative experience, in which viewers are encouraged to stay and watch the display for an extended duration, able to enjoy the experience of intense and pure colors but also able to see beyond to the conceptual bases of the works by the presence of take-home information cards. Initial pieces for the platform include: 1) Random Richters: a set of color swatches in the style of Richter’s color charts, but with colors determined via a quantum random number generator; 2) Unprintable Colors: A display of the colors that can be shown in RGB light but that can not be printed in a CMYK four-color process; 3) Pink Perceptions: an exploration of the color science of pink, one of the few named colors that doesn’t have a corresponding single wavelength of light, but exists only as a superposition of red and blue wavelengths; 4) Colour Lovers: a display of the most popular color palettes submitted by users at; 5) Every RGB Icon: a remake of John F. Simon’s seminal digital art piece “Every Icon” but displaying every possible color icon instead of all black and white icons. The thesis places this work in the context of the cultural and political climate of Silicon Valley in the 21st century, thereby asking questions about the limits of the processes of science and technology.