Is experience secondary?
It could be said what is felt is not what is, but how else am I to cleave a gap between what I know and what I do? I don’t mean “perceiving.” I am trying to express that the sky appears blue because the atmosphere can’t scatter the long - wavelength reds or yellows the sun emits; the sky shows us what is beyond, what is underneath. Underneath the moon, away from New York lights, the night sky hazes blue since the lunar glow is solar too, its incandescence mere reflection, that excess: what is already gone.
At night, color evacuates.
Smaller concerns: solitude, skin contact, admixtures of hope and rot and yearning. The blue eye is blue like the sky: the Tyndall effect (instead of the atmospheric Rayleigh), where without melanin to absorb it, blue light passing through the transparent iris is dispersed into the air more readily than other shades — backscatter.
Are all experiences secondary?
When the soot and ash spread skyward, the days became lighter, for years became lighter, and the food less nutritious. Some have suggested that painter J.M.W. Turner’s red-skied eye might come from such an effect following Mount Tambora’s 1815 eruption, its sulfate particles brightening the firmament for much of his productive life. Smaller concerns: eruptions and obsequies, the voice of fires, forests (dead), the costs of doing business, deposits of dirt where once something else stood, infrastructure, aluminum, Perspex, dreams... The Chinese character 靑 might signify verdant. It describes the blossoming of all colors, from yellowish green to blue to black; it takes the shape of a budding plant. Color and language each exceed form. Their experience is primary. I receive. I remain hungry.
In Serbo-Croatian, one word for blue, modra, may also mean dark purple; it may also mean a bruise. In studies, when asked where on a color spectrum modra falls, native speakers are unable to point with precision.
Certain primary notes: I am open, violable. I am at home. I am in the mirth of my solitude, a particulate refraction, the absence I must interpret as presence to see it as anything at all. The blue of my eyes is “structural,” not “pigmented.” Their color reveals what is underneath, what has not been filled in, bareness. “It’s an old problem,” Donald Judd said of trying to reconcile coloring his industrial materials, “Somehow I have to find a way to get at it and at this point I don’t know how...”
At night color evacuates. The Purkinje Shift. Vision adapts to low-light by turning the world blue, squashing reds and greens into the mute dark, new kinds of presences. Some might read this as color’s absence, the smog of dusk, the taste of ash.
Theoretically I would consider the gray a color, the aluminum or Corten is as much a color as anything else, to me it’s all color. When does a thing become a thing in itself, itself? I am too solipsistic these days for ontology. I had a conflict between bright color and the nature of the material. In Old Norse blue also meant black, or I mean that one thing has been another, or I mean there is no other thing. If I begin describing it, it is already lost. At this point I don’t know how to get at it.
In some languages, a single word accounts for blue and green. In some languages, a single term cannot contain different blues. Through language we become always more imprecise. The world escapes. In some languages, blue and green stay separate till they become dark, where they converge, become something different, that is, become the same.
One can feel blue; blue is not something one wants to feel. In Maggie Nelson’s obsessive catalogue of the color, Bluets, she writes, “Loneliness is solitude with a problem.” Soot lands on my tongue as a reminder that there are things I cannot control, that home is not the shape of a globe, that there is no edge. The world escapes. I am beneath a sky of my own making as words crystalize carbon gray against my teeth. I shed description: I become primary.
Is experience secondary?