|The colour HEX3B579D,
like many of its siblings, has a large number of birth dates. It was born
in harmony with the universe at an unspecified date that can only be plotted
as ZERO; it was born with the discovery of lapis lazuli somewhere in or
around the NEOLITHIC; it was born with the dawn of the photographic age
and the invention of RGB by James Clerk Maxwell in approximately 1860,
and like any other colour it was born an infinite number of times in between:
when the combination of object and pigment and light and perception and
shadowplay was just right to create said colourís unique tint.
However, this is just
sophistry. HEX3B579D was really born on the day it got called HEX3B579D,
which was a slow and gradual birth over the second half of the twentieth
century, sneaked aboard the Ark of the digital revolution. Indeed it is
the duality of our digital, bite-driven worldview that has given HEX3B579D
its lifeblood. Before that, in an analogue world, it was part of a continuum;
one infinite, indistinguishable and undistinguished colour of truth, the
way we ourselves were once part of a continuum, a gnostic oneness of holy
light that shattered into individuality.
Yes, HEX3B579D and
its siblings were unique in many ways; most importantly of all in that
they existed before carving out an existence. When we were still analogue,
the orange fruit would give its name to the orange colour, and not the
other way around. Now all these colours sprang out of the earth with no
tasks to their names, waiting for the devil to come by with work for their
idle hands to do. Luckily for us, the internet has heeded that call.
The first years of
HEX3B579Dís existence were uneventful. Every now and then a website of
this burgeoning thing called the World Wide Web would stumble upon it,
often in a highly contrastive color scheme doomed from the start. It would
be forced to work alongside such infamous culprits as HEX2D9483 and HEXB5EA6F,
where clashes were thus pretty much inavoidable. These short-lived websites
were like trees falling in a forest. They did not vindicate HEX3B579Dís
right to be and to be seen. In these salad days the colour wasnít very
popular. The abysmally designed layouts in which it was used didnít help,
but in more general terms it simply wasnít in vogue (in spite of its bluish
Of course we smile
at such accounts the way we smile at an ignorant toddler, knowing what
we do now. I would not be here today writing this piece about HEX3B579D
if it did not land firmly on its feet in the end. In this particular story,
the fate of the colour is inextricably linked to the fate of a man. Both
would be nothing without the other. Popular accounts have it that young
Mark, walking the sorry streets of Dobbs Ferry, New York, would be haunted
by the sight of the colour. Stricken with red-green colour blindness from
birth, his whole world was built out of the breezy nebulosity of blue.
Blue, for those of us lucky enough to have the whole spectrum at our disposal,
is the colour of what isnít; the colour of sky, sea and transparency. But
HEX3B579D, more opaque and palpable than most blues, was the best Mark
could do. It was utopia for him. When he got his chance, he marked the
colour his forever, and the colour in turn marked him; a match made in
Two blues, ours and
Markís. Being blue; ephemeral, transcendent and faraway. But then being
blue; opaque and omniscient. The blue of apparent distance versus the blue
of apparent proximity. A blue as a lens through which to see things versus
a blue through which we are perceived.
As for Mark, so for
us. The ubiquity of HEX3B579D pleased us all. It walked the tightrope that
the times called for: a blue solid enough to feel real, but blue enough
to be perfect for a cyberspace that will never ever be real.
Naturally there is
tragedy to the story as well. Unbeknownst to many, colours too adhere to
simple principles of supply and demand. A virtually unknown colour like
HEX3B579D that becomes well-nigh ubiquitous overnight will be able to rely
on its reserves for a while, but it will eventually spread itself thin.
Like the minerals and stones that our pigments spring from, colours are
not an infinite resource. Exhaustion is weighing on HEX3B579D, and the
cracks are starting to show. It strains to please all, but in the process
becomes invisible, a colour like a face in the crowd.
If HEX3B579D wants
to prolong its success into the future, it will have to turn in early nights
again, and pick its moments to sparkle in the spotlight. If not, ahead
of it will be a slow, long car crash and a blue funeral.