Crayola Green (2012)

Crayola Green, video, silent, 1 min.

“How many colours are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of ‘green’?” asked filmmaker Stan Brakhage when he wrote about visual perception and the untutored eye. How differently does an eye that has no language see? To what extent does language define and confine our perception of colour? The foreground of this piece is a field of grass interpreted by the eye of a camera unaware of the word green. This unbiased eye sees a green that includes reds, pinks and oranges. It is set upon a rotating background of Crayola greens from the iconic Crayola crayon box of 64 colours—the entrance point for so many young children learning colour. Green, Spring Green, Forest Green, Green Blue, Green Yellow, Blue Green, Olive Green, Pine Green, Sea Green, Yellow Green: all share the name green as determined and disseminated by Crayola. The shifting colours produce shifting perceptions, reminding  us how unstable, relative and contingent our visual understanding of colour is.

This piece was commissioned by The One Minutes in conjunction with the Sikkens Foundation as a part of their video series dealing with the social significance of colour.