Letters / From a Universe in Colors toward a Color Universe
The letter exchange between Vilém Flusser and Philippe Henry covers a period of about two-years, from July 1987 to November 1989 and deals mainly with the organization of the project of the House of Colour in São Paulo. Henry and his wife visited Flusser in Robion and met Edith and Vilém Flusser on several occasions in Brazil. The letters were accompanied by texts related to the project, both by Flusser and Henry, who considered Flusser a teacher and a source of inspiration. In “From a Universe in Colors toward a Color Universe”, Henry discusses different understandings of colour, from Newton’s prism to modern biology, and how our understanding of colour has shifted.
Colourful Dialogue: Vilém Flusser, Karl Gerstner and the Casa da Cor
Casa da Cor connected Vilém Flusser with an important interlocutor: Karl Gerstner. Gerstner’s systems-based approach was laid out in his book Designing Programmes: Instead of Solutions for Problems, Programmes for Solutions (1964). He was involved in New Tendencies, the 1960s Zagreb-based group that saw research and the computer as a medium for artistic innovation, and he was included in landmark exhibitions like The Responsive Eye (1965) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and documenta 4 (1968). Flusser and Gerstner discussed developing a denotative color code and creating a three-dimensional color space, called Colorarium, that would follow precedents like Kandinsky’s The Yellow Sound, composer Ivan Wyschengradsky’s audition colorée, or Le Corbusier’s Poème électronique (1958), as well as Gerstner’s earlier environments made with televisions, Plexiglass spheres, and acrylic-on-polyester reliefs. Neither the Colorarium nor the color code were realized, but they were theorized in Flusser’s writings: “On Science III” (1988) in Artforum mentioned Casa da Cor and asked, “Could a color code become a sort of universal Esperanto, complementing or even substituting for spoken and written language?”