white does not exist
graduation project research
Colours do not exist on their own. It is an ephemeral effect of the various light conditions occurring in the environment. As we adapt our vision to changing lights, definitely our perception omits some of the occurring colour changes. Recording the light could be a way to discover the invisible. I had been capturing various light effects with a standard camera. The most interesting subject was a white wall. White has the highest reflectivity so the surrounding light is reflected on it in the cleanest way. Obviously, the resulting colour depends on the camera white balance and other settings - the photographic documentation of colour is never fully re¬producible. However, in this case, not the accuracy was the aim. I wanted to record the activity of light.
However, this collection of images unveils one more underlying aspect of the interior which I had analysed. Although the static, white wall was the subject of my experimentation, the resulting pictures present all the varying colours, except the assumed white colour of the photographed wall. Despite the problem of actual reproducibility, obtained colours vary, and each frame is different. The whiteness of the wall was never pure and reflected all other colours and changing weather/light conditions appearing in the space like a cinema screen.
As proved by Newton, the whiteness exists only when all colours of the spectrum are combined equally. In the reality, there will always occur some interference that disrupts this balance. Having in mind the complexity of colour and the fact that colours belong to the surroundings, not to the objects I would argue that the white wall does not exist and question the very existence of the colour white as a fixed hue that we name as such. Whiteness appears only when juxtaposed with a context. Interestingly it can be a context understood at many levels. Not only the physical and evident within the phenomenological and scientific approach but also cultural or historical. If there are that many conditions that define the eventually perceived hue, how can we be sure about the authenticity of colours?
These considerations led to the development of my master graduation thesis - CHROMOPHOBIA.