The Architecture Association’s Saturated Space project asked me to write something about colour.
Originally conceived by imagining what the world might look like if we could apply Instagram style colour filters to reality, ‘Your gaze, brought to you by our sponsors’ ended up being an exploration of how digital palettes alienate us from the true colours of reality, how the male gaze shades virtual worlds, and how social media has made us all the content between advertisements.
Filter: Wild Style
sponsored by Adidas
The sun sprays golden light through white cloud stencils, ricocheting into gunshot paint splatter as it falls on brick and tarmac. Where it hits the ground it threatens to bounce away – the pulsating, litter-strewn sidewalks vibrating in time to deep sub-bass hits, distorting the air in front of you into ever shifting sound-wave patterns. A rainbow convoy of jeeps and SUVs crawl past, the sampled breaks and megaton-heavy drum machine rumbles booming from their hyper-polished shells, making even the skyscrapers shake, tenement building fronts awash with aerosol graffiti, a never ending urban gallery of a myriad shades. Words and pictures, names and faces, breeze-block textures soaked with vibrancy. On their peaks hijacked billboards nestle under tag-drenched water towers, broadcasting the urban uprising of illegal colours over corporate logos like pirate radio stations shifting their transmissions into the visible spectrum. The felt-pen scrawled finger of a road sign gantry arcs over your head, suspending street names associated with authenticity and hard-knock lives in text that you struggle to make out through the mosaic shards of multi-layered stickers.
You glance over at the woman next to you at the bus stop, thrilling in the pristine freshness of her threads, and awe at the bold blocks of colour, how the green/brown camouflage patchwork of her Adidas OriginalsTM tracksuit matches the trim of her boxfresh white Adidas Stan SmithTM sneakers, how the silk of the suit’s patented Three StripeTM piping mirrors the gold circles of her oversized hoop earrings. How it all compliments perfectly her warm, dark skin, her head nodding with effortless style to the landscape distorting beats, so flawlessly bold that it looks like she’s freshly daubed art, like she’s been ripped from the walls around you. Slowly, with measured, deliberate precision she turns to face you, and with dismissive screw-face her gaze meets yours, and you feel the hot flush of guilt as-