Name: Color Rx
Date: 2017
Context: Archives
Location: Cambridge, MA

Color Rx
Maia Leandra
Interactive installation with color prescriptions

Thursday, August 11, 10am-4pm
Gallery talk 3pm

Harvard Art Museums
Lightbox Gallery

Color is ephemeral and complex. Its history, its substance, and its context link inextricably to our perceptions and experience. Color Rx uses a computer algorithm to diagnose a viewer’s subjective inputs and “prescribe a color” in response. The piece is grounded in questions about trust in or benefit from “smart” systems, often in contexts where the algorithms are opaque – even when the output is very concrete (and in this case, colorful). In what ways is this system smart? Is it also intuitive, or even wise? The installation contends with the meaning we ascribe to perceptions and experiences, especially when such experiences are designed for individual consumption. While many algorithmic forms of diagnosis can be shallow, the benefits can be deep. Drawing on historical information from the Forbes Pigment Collection, citations to scholarly texts, and the artist’s personal store of knowledge and intuition in the field, this piece explores the line between belief and truth, projection and reality, color and illusion.