A selection of snapshots, by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (published 2010)
Michael Pecirno is a designer working in the space between architecture and visual design. Originally trained as an architect and later working as an art director, his work explores how design (tied closely to other forces) can have a positive impact on societies, places, objects and people.
Michael graduated with distinction with a B.S. Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently pursuing his M.A. Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in London, England. He has been an invited research fellow and scholarship recipient at multiple institutions, including the Architectural Association School of Architecture and Archeworks School of Design.
I Follow You Deep Sea, Baby — Blue is the Warmest Color.
After watching this movie for the second time, I cannot help but to want to overanalyze the film. Blue is the Warmest Color is filled with emotion and whose original title (in France) is The Life of Adele; however, the movie is loosely based on the graphic novel Blue Angel, which goes into a more tragic turn that what we have at the movie.
In the movie, there is one main character, Adele - who is known as Clementine in the graphic novel. The graphic novels depicts both characters, Clementine and Emma, with the same degree of importance since the story is about their relationship.
However, what I really want to know is the significance behind the color blue. Why is blue the warmest color?
Rebecca Solnit writes:
The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains. “Longing,” says the poet Robert Hass, “because desire is full of endless distances.” Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.
Adele’s life is painted blue. There is a cleverness in Kechiche for opting to name the movie The Life of Adele. Sure, there are racy sex scenes. There are also queer issues that need to be resolved and saying that Blue is the Warmest Color is depicted through a heterosexual lens and that it is problematic, its the same thing as saying that heterosexual relationships depicted by Pedro Almodovar are problematic.
Back on topic — blue is the color of longing, of desire. Blue is Emma’s hair color. She is blue, and not in the sense of that cheesy Eiffel 65 Blue song. Her hair is symbolic and becomes a poetic signifier of who she is for Adele. Blue is Emma and Emma is blue. Blue in art has a diverse range of meanings that go from peace to depression. Blue is a primary color and in Adele’s (and Clementine’s) life it is the primer for introspection.
Picasso’s blue period was one of introspection after the death of one of his dear friends, Carlos Casagemas. In music, the sound of the blues is attached to the feeling of loneliness and sadness. However, in cinema it seems that blue is the color of choice to show detachment.
Blue is the purest color.
This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water.
Blue is that color that we cannot reach, the unattainable. Adele went into the extremes of her world and found blue. She was able to reach the light that brought warmth into her life, but when this warmth was lost, she found herself again in the vastness of the sea.
A sea that gave her the same warmth than that of her lost lover. She drowned in colorless water that dyed her hair blue. Blue once again, is the color that highlights the distance between her and her lover. Moreover, Kechiche’s use of color highlights the emotional tenderness of the film by the use of blue shadows and off-white highlights. The whole film is painted blue.
You always hurt, the ones you love. — My Blue Valentine
Blue is the sound of an aching heart. When I first watched My Blue Valentine — because sometimes a movie is so painful that you just need to watch it more than once… — I couldn’t bear how hard it was to hold back from crying. A movie that touched every cell in my core and a movie that I love, because it felt true.
Here we have two main characters, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling). Faith has brought them together and life kept them apart. For Dean it was love at first sight and talks about the harshness and weirdness that it is to fall for someone who you do not know. Cindy approaches Dean with a cold shoulder, but later reveals a warm side to him that starts their love affair.
Cindy was pregnant from a previous relationship and after confessing this truth to Dean she decides to get an abortion, which she was not able to carry out. Shortly after, Dean decides that they should marry and takes on every responsibility imagined in order to be there for Cindy.
The story then narrates the breakdown of this relationship by making very evident the distance between Cindy and Dean, specifically in a scene that happens as a motel where Dean and Cindy make a (lame) attempt at reviving the flames of who they once were.
Again, the color blue is denoting a couple of things: Dean’s longing for Cindy and Cindy’s ever growing distancing from Dean. The scene in particular is one of shock value. I have seen hard to watch sex scenes, but the sex portrayed in this scene is one of despair, hate, and denial, which makes it so difficult to not want to pop open the Jameson.
With constant flashbacks throughout the film that explain their past, we see that in their case – at some point – blue was also a color of warmth between Cindy and Dean.
My Blue Valentine is another movie that makes use of blue shadows and highlights. It is as if blue was an affirmation of emotional pains. As explicit as these two films make the intentionality of the use of the color blue in their titles, I cannot help but to wonder, why is blue so immersive? It is in its nature to be immersive. We immerse ourselves in a sea of happiness when we are truly happy; yet, we also drown our sorrows in a sea of sadness.
Blue is the deepest color.
I have not been entirely honest with myself in relation to my new work. I wanted to make it speak of technology and how it affects us, but that is not what I really want to do.
All of my work is personal. It emerges from personal thought and it is set up to exhibit parts of the human psyche. A few years ago my work revolved around the loss of my tongue. I was born in Mexico City. I migrated to the US 12 years ago in a small town in West Texas whose identity is undefined. El Paso, TX is neither American nor Mexican and at that point I was struggling with language and culture. The beliefs I had on what was American and what was Mexican collapsed. My identity collapsed, I was at a loss. I didn’t know who I was and little by little I began to lose my mother tongue, Spanish.
Later my work became about identity and the loss of self. I identify myself as a woman, but strongly believe that I can act as both genders at the same time. After all, gender is performative. That is when I discovered that I could speak with my body if I couldn’t speak with my tongue. I became interested in performance work and made several attempts at creating performances.
The ability of speaking with my body brought an emotional sensitivity to my work. I became part of my work. I am my work and vice-versa. My physicality is truly my body of work, where my physicality became my medium and my sense of self became the message.
I moved to Boston a year ago. I left everything I knew and came into a city that has a strong history. I was no longer in a strange land, instead I became one of the many strangers that live in the Boston area. The sense of feeling lost and out of touch from everything and everyone I knew made me feel alone. Skyping with close friends that were at a distance made me realize that sometimes our relationships become more intimate when we are not in close proximity. Moreover, the best dating advice I have been given hit me right in the core at a very sensible moment. How can one be with someone else, if we are not capable of being on our own, by ourselves?
Being alone is to be equal to being lost because you have not found yourself. Most people find who they truly are when they find themselves in strange places, but can you find yourself within a stranger? My brain began to think and over think on what it meant to make and to have a connection. Through technology we are connected all the time in virtual space. This ethereal space has changed the way we experience communication. Some argue that modern technology is masturbatory, others emphasize technology as being the beginning for creating a global village. I am torn because technology has allowed me to get closer to people who are far away from me, but at the same time it has pushed me away from people who are within a close proximity and sometimes even right next to me.
How can I be everywhere?
Hello, stranger. I am that stranger. The one that wishes to talk to you. To listen to you. I am here for when you are here. Your presence can activate a space where we can talk about anything. I want to know who you are. I want to get to know you and at the end I can only hope that you have gotten to know more about yourself by disconnecting - briefly or momentarily - from your daily routine as you connected with a stranger.
Stranger, if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
Hello, Stranger is a stand-alone interface. I am that stranger. I stand there alone waiting for you. I am there. The physicality of the piece is meant to become the physical surrogate of myself. I am at the other side of the line waiting for you. Hello, Stranger is composed of a no-dial telephone that is capable of sensing a person’s passing, which in turn triggers the telephone to ring. If this person gets closer to the phone and picks it up, they will automatically dial me and I will answer that call no matter what time it is or where I am, because - most importantly - if they are there, I am there and I will do my best to establish a connection with that person for as briefly or as long as they want to talk. I am there.
As an artist who has become aware of how her body can become a medium of its own, I am interested in the manifestation of art in life and life in art. I am my own medium and in a way I am a messenger. When you pick up that phone, you will be picking me up. When you talk to that phone, you will be talking to me. We will be connected and will no longer be strangers.
Perhaps, getting out of touch with people has made me crave for connections, but right now I feel ilk ewe all need to be connected. Perhaps not necessarily though data cables, but with each other and with ourselves. This may all be romantic conceptualism, but what is it to think and be an artist if we cannot entertain a thought in someone else?
Dynamics, asthetics and sensuality aren’t simply features of dance, but furthermore those of the “Motion Theater”. A theater that combines modern elements with classical ones in order to add suitable significance to this magical art. The logo intertwines the dancers movements and their connections to the theater, so that it appears to be “in motion” at all times. The dancer, their moves and the music create a new sphere due to their everlasting dependence on one another. It seems as if they originate from the theater. Therefore, the logo (on posters) arises in immediate incorporation to the dancer. The expression of the dance as “movement in space” is enforced by elements such as the “floating” typography.