Green Light

The Color Green

The color green is evoked by light which has a dominant wavelength of 495 to 570 nanometers, appearing in the visual spectrum between the colors blue and yellow. It is created in painting by the combinations of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan. The shades of the color green range from yellow-greens, such as lime and avocado, to those with a blue tinge, such as emerald and turquoise. 

The English word ‘green’ comes from the Old English and Middle English word ‘grene, which like the German word ‘grün’, has the same root as the words ‘grass’ and ‘grow’, The first recorded use of the word as a term for a color in Old English is dated to about 700 AD. Although many languages, such as Germanic, Romance, Slavic and Greek, have old terms for “green’ which derived from words for vegetation, there is no identifiable single Proto-Indo-European source word for the word “green”. Linguistics studies indicate that all these terms were developed independently over time. 

In ancient Egypt, the color green was the symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Egyptian artists used the mineral malachite, finely ground, for painting on walls and on papyrus; this mineral was mined in the west Sinai and the eastern desert. Green had very positive associations for the Egyptians. A growing papyrus sprout represented the hieroglyph for the word green, linking the color to vegetation, vigor and growth. Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, was usually portrayed as having a green face, as seen in the tomb of Nefertari who reigned from 1295 to 1253 BC. Malachite amulets were worn for protection from evil and given to the dead to promote vigor in the deceased. 

The green pigment verdigris is made by placing a copper, brass or bronze plate, slightly warmed, into a vat of fermenting wine for several weeks. The green powder that forms on the metal is scraped off and dried. This pigment was used by the Romans in murals, and in Celtic manuscripts. It produced a blue-green color; but it was unstable and toxic. Verdigris was used in Persian and European paintings util the late 19th century, when it was replaced by the pigment chrome green. Vincent van Gogh used viridian, a more stable green patented in 1859, in a mixture of Prussian blue to create the green tinted sky in his 1888 painting “Cafe Terrace at Night”.

The use of the color green in painting plays an important role in the creation of naturalistic flesh tones, as seen in Duccio di Buoninsegna’s altarpiece “Maestà” at the Museo deli’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo in Siena, Italy. Its use in underpainting and glazing is seen in Jan van Eyck’s oil paintings and Paolo Uccello’s murals. Helen Frankenthaler used the color green almost exclusively in her 1992 “Overture”, one of her freest works, swirling green paint into vortices and and then dissolving it into rich patterns.  

Another example of the use of green was the installation work “Green Light Corridor” by Indiana-born artist Bruce Nauman which enforced the contrast between the perceptual and physical experience of space. He constructed two high walls spaced twelve inches apart, lit by green fluorescent bulbs hanging above the created corridor. Spectators walked through the tight space, the eyes adjusting to the green light. Upon exiting, their eyes adjusted again, causing them to see an optical illusion of the color pink, the opposite end of the color spectrum. 

Aldous Huxley: “Brave New World Revisited”

Photographers Unknown, Sixteen Men and Aldous Huxley

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.

In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were “solemn and rare,” there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous.

For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment – from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema.

In “Brave New World” non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly “not of this world.” Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx’s phrase “the opium of the people” and so a threat to freedom.

Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.” 

― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

Susan Sontag: “On Photography”

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Four

“But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art –it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure– photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.

Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, from the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography –and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns– is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography

All images reblogged with many thanks to Synopsibility located at: http://jimbo1126.tumblr.com

Socrates: “To Render Himself as Excellent and Rational as Possible”

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Three

“I did not care for the things that most people care about– making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city . . . I set myself to do you– each one of you, individually and in private– what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible.”
Socrates

 

Junichirō Tanizaki: “In Praise of Shadows”

Photographers Unknown, In Praise of Shadows

“We Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce, then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the progressive Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light—his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow.”
Junichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

Tom Wolfe: “The Present We Know is Only Movies of Our Past”

 

The Faces of Man: WP Set Two

“A person has all sorts of lags built into him Kesey is saying. Once the most basic is the sensory lag, the lag between the time your senses receive something and you are able to react. One-thirtieth of a second is the time it takes if you are the most alert person alive and most people are a lot slower than that…. You can’t go any faster than that… We are all doomed to spend the rest of our lives watching a movies of our lives – we are always acting on what has just finished happening. It happened at least 1 30th of a second ago. We think we are in the present but we aren’t. The present we know is only a movies of the past and we will really never be able to control the present through ordinary means.”
Tom Wolfe, The Electrid Kool-Aid Acid Test, 1968

 

Fyodor Dostoevsky: ” If One Has Only One Good Memory Left in His Heart’

 

Photographers Unknown, If One Has Only One Good Memory Left in His Heart

“You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov 

Aldous Huxley: “The Doors of Preception”

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Eleven

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”
Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Preception

Jasper Fforde: “This is the Wisdom”

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Photographers Unknown, The Bath

“Okay, this is the wisdom. First, time spent on reconnaissanse is never wasted. Second, almost anything can be improved with the addition of bacon. And finally, there is no problem on Earth that can’t be ameliorated by a hot bath and a cup of tea.”
Jasper Fforde, Shades of Gray

Truman Capote: “Any Love is Natural and Beautiful”

Photographers Unknown, Any Love is Natural and Beautiful

“Any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell.”
Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

Erik Pevernagie: “A Fleeting Moment Can Become an Eternity”

Photographers Unknown, Faces of Man: WP Photo Set One

“A fleeting moment can become an eternity. From a past encounter everything may disappear in the dungeon of forgetfulness. A few furtive flashes or innocent twinkles can survive, though. Some immaterial details may remain marked in our memory, forever. A significant look, a salient colour or a unforeseen gesture may abide, indelibly engraved in our mind.”
Erik Pevernagie

 

Barbara Hurd: “There is Magic in This Moist World”

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Photographer Unknown, Title Unknown, (The Circle)

“In a swamp, as in meditation, you begin to glimpse how elusive, how inherently insubstantial, how fleeting our thoughts are, our identities. There is magic in this moist world, in how the mind lets go, slips into sleepy water, circles and nuzzles the banks of palmetto and wild iris, how it seeps across dreams, smears them into the upright world, rots the wood of treasure chests, welcomes the body home.”
Barbara Hurd, Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination

John Steinbeck: “And Then- The Glory. . .”

Photogaphers Unknown, And Then–The Glory

“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men. ”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Joseph Campbell, “Forms and Conceptions . . .”

Photographers Unknown, Forms and Conceptions

“The function of ritual and myth is to make possible, and then to facilitate, the jump—by analogy. Forms and conceptions that the mind and its senses can comprehend are presented and arranged in such a way as to suggest a truth or openness beyond. And then, the conditions for meditation having been provided, the individual is left alone. Myth is but the penultimate; the ultimate is openness—that void, or being, beyond the categories —into which the mind must plunge alone and be dissolved. Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means—themselves of the nature of the world of names and forms, though eloquent of, and ultimately conducive to, the ineffable. They are mere symbols to move and awaken the mind, and to call it past themselves.”
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Joseph Campbell: “Mythology is Not a Lie”

 

Photographers Unknown, The Black and White Collection: WP Set One

“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

 

Hermann Hesse: “We Who Bore the Mark…”

 

Photographers Unknown, We Who Bore the Mark

“We who bore the mark might well be considered by the rest of the world as strange, even as insane and dangerous. We had awoken, or were awakening, and we were striving for an ever perfect state of wakefulness, whereas the ambition and quest for happiness of the others consisted of linking their opinions, ideals, and duties, their life and happiness, ever more closely with those of the herd. They, too, strove; they, too showed signs of strength and greatness. But as we saw it, whereas we marked men represented Nature’s determination to create something new, individual, and forward-looking, the others lived in the determination to stay the same.”

—Hermann Hesse, Damian, Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend