Colour in culture:shifting values, understanding and functions

Mottram, Judith (2017) Colour in culture:shifting values, understanding and functions. In: Colour Design. Elsevier, pp. 477-490. ISBN 9780081012703

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The conditions for colour in culture today give us an environment where colour reproduction now seems unlimited and the transmission of colour images, both still and moving, is within the grasp of the mobile technology available to the most digitally networked city environments as well as to remote Thai tribal villages. We might assume that these conditions mean that colour in culture is in a 'golden age'. The sections covered so far in this book give an indication of what we know about colour from the perspective of vision and perception, from physics, physiology and psychology. This chapter will look at where we find colour in the cultural sphere, from popular, domestic, and neighbourhood (local) cultural environments through to the civic, national and internationally-distributed models and ideas. I will consider whether the apparent ease of colour transmission is impacting upon colour in culture, and what we know about colour within the cultural sphere. As colour is arguably present in all that is seen, some constraints will be applied to the remit. The colour of football shirts will not be addressed, nor are the set design for game shows, but both are part of a culture of colour. What is seen as in remit are goods that are consumed where colour might be a significant lever of choice, such as clothes and homewares, including fabrics, floor and wall coverings, and designed products like kettles, toasters or vacuum cleaners. Leisure practices that require apparel purchases such as hiking, skiing and climbing are part of the culture, but perhaps better dealt with under the umbrella of economics and consumer choice. Other chapters in this book deal with colour in food, fashion, health, interiors and public spaces. All these are constituents of the broad spectrum of the sites with and within which we enact our cultural life. This chapter will however tend to draw on pursuits such as discourse about the objects in museums and galleries, where the discrimination of visual characteristics such as colour might be thought of as part of the mode of cultural consumption more associated with culture as artistic achievement. The intention of the chapter is to explore how we are seeing colour in our petri dish and what experiments we might yet undertake to understand further the potential for colour to operate within the cultural context. As such, the chapter will present ideas that are yet to be explored systematically, drawing where possible on precursor work in one or more domains that might have an interest in the topic.

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22 Jun 2017 14:20
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18 Sep 2023 02:37