How do you define the color red or recognize red? Wikipedia defines red by referencing differentobjects—the color of blood and strawberries. Philosophers have written entire books discussingthese questions of color (Wittgenstein and Goethe) that have implications beyond questions of colorfor questions regarding epistemology and ontology.Red Premises is a collaborative video database that constructs and deconstructs the idea/concept of'red'. Artists Christopher Biggs and Eric Souther collected videos of red objects, places, andthings over the span of six months. The aesthetic arbitrariness of capturing an image solelybecause a color is present in that image is similar to the arbitrariness of the sound of the word“red” applying to the internal mental representation of red.Clips from the database are accessed at random throughout the work. The audio is triggered andprocessed in real-time with various constraints and probabilities from three sound sources: theword “red,” which is omnipresent in various forms, and two abstract sounds, one of which abstractlyrepresents the color green and the other blue. These streams of audio are mapped to and variablycontrol different parameters of the video, such as when new videos are accessed and how the colorred is displayed. As the piece evolves, the repetition of the word “red” and how the audio isprocessed results in the sound of word dominating the artistic discourse, not the semantic meaningof the word. While the probabilistic nature of the computer program that runs the piece willresult in a unique performance every time the program is run, the work is clearly structured andsections are initiated by a person controlling the program during performance. [By Christopher Biggs & Eric Souther]
Eric Souther is a video and new media artist who creates custom software for manipulating audio and video in real-time. His interest include the materialization of digital aesthetics and the ritualistic spaces of media: the masks of media, the myths of media, and how they change the way we perceive our world. He received his M.F.A in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University, and his B.F.A in New Media from the Kansas City Art Institute. He is currently an Assistant Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend.