• Part of
    Ubiquity Network logo

    Read Chapter
  • No readable formats available
  • Color as Signal / Noise

    Carolyn L. Kane

    Chapter from the book: Kane, C. 2019. High-Tech Trash: Glitch, Noise, and Aesthetic Failure.


    American video artist Ryan Trecartin is undeniably a “grinder and mixer of multicolor drugs,”1 as Plato put it in reference to artists in general. His fashionable use of digital media, fast-paced editing, belligerent makeup and costume, and chaotic, broken, and synthesized dialogue echo his unforgiving color juxtapositions. His work emerged in the early 2000s, during a time when the art world was embracing a trickle-down of academic trends in post-media, post-identity politics, and queer theory. Beyond these already-theorized connections to the pre-existent cultural ethos, this chapter argues that Trecartin’s work sanctions the noisy colors of a newer world of selfies, social media apps, the Internet, and automated effects plug-ins through three strategies rooted in categorical transgression (in favor of noise and ambiguity); an aesthetic category I theorize as “accidental color”; and a use of whacky stops and pauses––in the tradition of the avant-garde–– to incite subject disorientation and criticality.

    Chapter Metrics:

    How to cite this chapter
    Kane, C. 2019. Color as Signal / Noise. In: Kane, C, High-Tech Trash. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.83.d

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

    Peer Review Information

    This book has been peer reviewed. See our Peer Review Policies for more information.

    Additional Information

    Published on Dec. 17, 2019