Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (International Library of Visual Culture)

Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (International Library of Visual Culture)

Natasha Eaton

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 1780765193

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Colour, Art and Empire explores the entanglements of visual culture, enchanted technologies, waste, revolution, resistance and otherness. The materiality of color offers a critical and timely force-field for approaching afresh debates on colonialism. Located at the thresholds of nomenclature, imitation, mimesis and affect, this book analyses the formation of color and politics as qualitative overspill. Here color can be viewed both as central and supplemental to early photography, the totem, alchemy, tantra and mysticism. From the 18th-century Austrian empress Maria Theresa, to Rabindranath Tagore and Gandhi, to 1970s Bollywood, color makes us adjust our take on the politics of the human sensorium as defamiliarizing and disorienting.

Color wreaks havoc with western expectations of biological determinism, objectivity and eugenics. Beyond the cracks of such discursive practice, color becomes a sentient and nomadic retort to be pitted against a perceived colonial hegemony. Its alter materiality's and ideological reinvention as a resource for independence struggles, makes color fundamental to multivalent genealogies of artistic and political action and their relevance to the present.

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the late eighteenth- and early nineteenthcentury Sufis Mir Dard and Shaykh Kirmani I explore the mystical dimensions of colour, its spiritual phenomenology, the scale of colours in the universe and its complex hermeneutics in relation to the Black Light (light without matter) and the theology of the Cosmic Throne. I suggest that Delhi- and Agra-based painters working in the Sufi milieu translated or rejected some of these concepts in their production of an aesthetic which turned to colour in

a wry analogue with Maria Theresa’s identity as sovereign because to treat ‘one’s things as metonyms of oneself is to substitute a sacrificial destruction of loss of objects for one’s own mortal person’.26 Maria Theresa also tried to establish a trading company with links to the Orient. Possibly the failure of this enterprise arose from the growing power of the English East India Company (1600–1858) which one year before the completion of the Millionenzimmer had taken over the rule of Bengal by

to have used a huge amount of poppy oil, adjusting the imperial palette to accommodate the by-product of indigo’s nemesis – opium. Poppy oil also formed the base of his varnishes as preserve, varnish as a cosmetic for pictures – to bring out colour; varnish as guard against the atrophy of canvas, ill designed for a hot climate. Given the threat of insects, mould and the unpredictable structural movements of frames and canvas in such tropical heat, oil paintings hardly served as the best economic

fashion. He sought to explain art in terms of prior perceptual habits; the students tested, he believed, displayed high phenomenal regression because they had learned how to see from looking at paintings. This pervasive, ‘faulty’ art made for a faulty faculty of perception and vice versa. Far from unique, Thouless’s study demonstrates both how the category of culture overlaid with older questions of race and how oriental art posed a threat through its alterity.309 The question of visual acuity

yellow-blue, light-dark processes, it was expected that colour blindness would not have one of these ‘dimensions’. In spite of the differences between these two views, both camps agreed that for the colour blind, all colours appear as if composed of blue and yellow. For Hering, the colour blind had the sensations of yellow or blue; for Helmholtz and Maxwell the colour blind had (in the case of the most common red-green case), sensations of green and violet but called them blue and yellow: they

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