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the spirit of the time



A colour based text & image project by Daniel Dugas

November 22, 2015

The Spirit of the Time will be published by Prise de parole as an electronic book as well as a limited edition paper book (50 copies). This bilingual book (French and English) will be printed in full colour, 9 in X 9 in.

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I have been invited by Australian Poetry to participate in a six months residency through their Café Poet Program.  I am very happy to announce that the Blackwattle Cafe will be hosting my cafe poet residency! It is an amazing place located directly on the Blackwattle Bay, Sydney Harbour. I will be contributing texts from THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME to JUiCYHEADS every two weeks for the duration of the residency.

Here is a description of the project: 

The existence of colours precedes classification and human evolution on this planet. Sunsets were red and leaves were green long before their hues could be expressed in words.  Colours are defined by pigmentation; a blue pigment is blue because it absorbs all of the colours except blue.  Unlike pigments, words carry elements of realities but also aspects of fictions, of possible futures, as well as colour.  Words are the vehicles that move the emotions, the symbols of our desires and our hopes, the emblems of our determination to face reality and trials. The names of colours are cultural reflections of certain moments in a timeline.  They express the way we were, the way we are; THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME: the Zeitgeist, or the way we would like to be tomorrow.

Pantone, a corporation known for its colour systems and technology for design industries, understands this very well.  In 2000, it inaugurated its Color of the Year program.  This annual affair, rooted in marketing and mercantilism, has become a major influence on fashion.  As a follow-up to 2011's Honeysuckle, 'a vibrant reddish-pink, perfect to ward off the blues', Pantone Color Institute announced that Tangerine Tango had been selected to be the 2012 Color of the Year, 'This spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.'[1]

THE SPIRIT OF THE TIME will be a transmutation of the marketing landscape into a poetic landscape.  By using commercially available color palettes as base material - swatches from Pantone, Martha Stuart, Behr, Sherwin-Williams and others - I intend to create a series of haiku-like short texts.  Questions of subversion versus established social order is at the root of the project.  From the collision of what is transmitted and what is received I would like to examine the fragile reality of existence in which we live.  What can be said of colours with names such as Gypsy Moth, Powder Puff or Chocolate Cosmos?[2]


My writing process to be divided into three steps:
1. Pick a pigment-sample from a colour palette.
2. Find an example in the city of a colour that closely resembles the chosen pigment-sample. Take an image of the location as a mnemonic device.

3. Write a text at the Blackwattle Cafe.

[1] http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/category.aspx?ca=88
[2] Sample colours from Complete Paint Palette – Martha Stuart Living

This project has been made possible through the support of The Canada Council for the Arts, artsnb, Australian Poetry, Blackwattle Cafe and JUiCYHEADS.

© 2013 Daniel Dugas, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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