Fabricating Color

Fabricating Color conference poster v 1Fabricating Color: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Method took place on March 25-26, 2014, bringing together fifteen artists, humanists, social scientists, and scientists for whom color has been a persistent source of fascination. The questions that motivate these speakers — What is color? How do humans and animals make sense of color? How does color come to have cultural and social meanings? — speak to the readiness with which this topic traverses the disciplines. This multidisciplinary conference marked a major assessment of what we know about color and how our research methods help shape these specific understandings.

Our participants presented short versions of pre-circulated papers on the day of the conference. These presentations showcased current research on color from a variety of fields and approaches. The conference also featured two roundtables where participants examined how their shared object of inquiry—color—is fabricated through the distinct methodologies and research tools used to make it knowable. What do the various disciplines know about color? And how do they come to know it? How are their claims about color compatible, and where do they clash? What is the model of interdisciplinary inquiry that emerges from these intersecting investigations into color? And how might we use this model, or the individual inquiries it encompasses, to account for how the epistemology of color relates to the experience of color or to historically specific experiments with colorants?


Zed Adams (Philosophy, The New School)
Rebekah Baglini and Chris Kennedy (Linguistics, University of Chicago)
Francesca Casadio (Chemistry, The Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University)
Jonathan Cohen (Philosophy, University of California, San Diego)
Nicholas Gaskill (English, Rutgers University at New Brunswick)
David Hilbert (Philosophy, University of Illinois-Chicago)
Laura Kalba (Art History, Smith College)
Carolyn Kane (Film and Media, Hunter College)
Jordan Martins (Visual Arts, North Park University)
Osagie Obasogie (Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California-San Francisco, and Law, University of California-Hastings)
Michael Rossi (History, University of Chicago)
Ayu Saraswati (Women’s Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
Jonathan Schroeder (English, University of Chicago)
Jessica Stockholder (Visual Arts, University of Chicago)

Anish Kapoor White sand, Red millet, Many Flowers, 1982 Mixed media and pigment 4 elements 101 x 241.5 x 217.4 cm Collection Arts Council, South Bank Centre, London
Anish Kapoor. White sand, Red millet, Many Flowers, 1982.