günther selichar

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Who's Afraid of Blue, Red and Green? - 16,7 Million Colors

Public Intervention 2009/12

Interactive webproject with screening in public space, daily between 6.00 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. + 4 p.m. and 12.p.m., Media Facade, Schlossmuseum Linz (A)


Ruth Horak

The Simple Spectacle of 16.7 Million Colors

Red, green, blue, in short RGB: three basic colors, a three-part number sequence, the elements of additive color mixing, the basis of every screen display. The combinations of the values between 0/0/0 and 255/255/255 result in 16.7 million different color shades, brightnesses and intensities. Several of them were displayed in twenty-second intervals on the media facade of the new south wing of the Schlossmuseum in Linz.

The person responsible for this media abstraction is Günther Selichar, whose intensive image reflections over many years compels newly decoding media images again and again. Under the title “Who’s Afraid of Blue, Red and Green?” – clearly an homage to Barnett Newman’s radical experiments – Günther Selichar has interpreted the RGB model at different levels since 1990. The current project is a further one in this series. On display on the 6,5 x 7,4 m large screen was not a conventional sales message or decorative stimulation, but rather a minimum of information, which nevertheless materializes a central and elementary media condition to the maximum: colors, 16.7 million possible colors resulting from the coordinates of the RGB color space on the screen, which are a reference source for the media artist Günther Selichar like the repertoire of artist paint sample cards for the painter Gerhard Richter.

Publicly visible – publicly programmable: as with common image processing programs, there are slides and fields available to the users for the numerical entry of the color channels. Unlike the devices, the eye is no longer capable of distinguishing, let alone naming the fine gradations that may result. People have systematized the colors originally derived from the abundance of colors in natures and created models such as RGB that define the shades of color with numbers, thus supplementing the palette that can be experienced with a calculable richness of possibilities. The clear programming of this conceptual work, in which the vocabulary of media images itself is activated, shifts attention to single optical color stimulations and is imbued with a new media autonomy.