A Color for the Year

I have a strange feeling that we already are androids. Our phones and our computers are training us to perform the whimsically capitalist fantasies of technology companies, or they are, or, perhaps simultaneously they are monitoring us with dubious purpose as we go through our day. The luxury of an iphone to fit within a certain social strata is an undeniable reality and yet to what it is tethered to is fearfully powerful no matter how innocently our information is being used or sold.

I would like to define a certain tepid aesthetic that I have noticed, as if we are being distracted by color, by shimmer, by shine.

And here is where I return to my main argument of the early 2000 teens: aesthetically the United States is living a toxic Rococo dreamboat. Look at millenial pink (you see it “died” in 2017). Look at Gen Z Yellow (both below).

And, lord help us, if we don’t need more colors like all we can handle is a strawberry flavored starburst without it getting stuck in our hair in some faux pubescent drama (I will never forget when the gum got stuck in my hair and my mom had to cut it out (tears and tears and tears).) Pantone’s 2019 color is Living Coral. I liked all of these delicious, joyful pinks and yellows at first, it was sweet. Obama was president, we occupied Wall Street. I, for one, thought that’s what it took to change the world.

Now I must object. Color has more power than it has been given.

I am getting carpal tunnel from scrolling on my phone. I was too busy on my phone to text my aunt back. The only thing I look at are sponsored images my friends post of joyous times whose haunting I can’t seem to shake. But what is life without them? Where is connection without them? The only time I see my best friend is when she likes my posts or views my story on Instagram. A blip of “hello” so miniscule that it feels like that’s all I can get. What do we talk about if she knows my life through my images. There’s no more to say. We barely correspond. Proof of time lies somewhere in the mundane. Proof of existence, somewhere in time. Where there is change there is life.
That’s why I’ve been enjoying these dark days. They remind me that we live in an area of the world with changing seasons, and because I know these dark days won’t last, I put up some holiday lights and snuggle into the warm glow. I think the color is shifting to a green so dark it looks black. I think we need to get quiet for a damn second.

Why one color? It can help with phases as a jumping off point. The naming provides both proof and limits. Citizenship, or belonging, and also the opposite: what it is not.

The borders swing around time and space. Providing whefts and wheys for weaving stories. The colors provide variation and movement, a place to focus on that would cover the world in its shade. But the original weaving is always more complicated than we would have expected. Nothing is as predictable as we would have believed which is the reason why we are both robots and humans.

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