2008 - _ MATCHMAKER, - Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil & Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China

MATCHMAKER maps the public space around the world identifying their colours by their Pantone® codes, investigating how man-made systems are applied for classification and control.


The following text was published as article in HTV news number 73 - Brood en Spelen - Report - Matchmaker p.20

"It is all about control" it reads in the Pantone® colour Identification leaflet that comes with my colour Guides. It is true, it is all about control.

Man strives to be master over matter and therefore uses science, theory and language to qualify, quantify and classify the natural phenomena surrounding him. May it be the colour of a sunset, the way a snow crystal is formed or the formula by which a wave curls, we have invented systems that describe, and therefore explain, these phenomena.

All science is by its definition arbitrary to a certain point. All formulas, theories and models build upon the work of former generations of scientists. There is no such thing as absolute truth in science and how it describes nature. It is always an approximation of our understanding of the world we live in.

Pantone® is a colour Matching System. It attempts to give a number, a code if you will, for all possible colours we see around us in daily life. From the shade of white of a lump of sugar in the late afternoon on the porch table next to the blue China teacup to the green of the bushes in the bright early light slightly up hill when going for morning coffee at the cafe at the end of the street.

But what does it exactly mean to be able to control colour. Is it that by naming a colour we allow it to have an existence? Is it by giving a language to a visual phenomenon that we make it real, create it into existence? Is it that by saying; look that car is baby-blue or, the colour of a Coca Cola can is PMS (Pantone® Matching System) 485, we make that colour more true, more understandable, usable, alive?

Is it true for a thing to exist it has to have a name, symbol or code so we can use it to describe our experiences? And does this naming allow us to share this event? Does something get a soul by getting a linguistic label? Does it get born into existence this way? Does it thus get a life, or life?

I like to think of these descriptive languages, these scientific systems like physics or mathematics as ways of mapping certain areas of our understanding. Mapping is literally a method of connecting commonly known dots of certified 'truth', grouping them together and putting boundaries around them. This idea of charting our territories by drawing them out and marking them is intrinsically a possessive act of appropriation, be it economically or driven out of insecurity, fear of death or mortality.

The places I travel to all relate in some very specific way to me. They all have their own means of using a specific language of explaining their properties and character to me. Or should I say they possess these aspects already and I understand these places in this manner. I use this language to translate them in my brain into an organized system of relationships, a map so to say.

It seems that I am always creating maps for the places I stay in. A map to be able to navigate them, to discover them and to be able to understand them by. It is a mode of creating a memory for a place too. By building a map and by making objects to go with it I create an archive to be used again and again at any chosen moment in the future. This I consider a time machine that allows me to send my personal understanding of a place into the future to be able to experience again what I am feeling in this place right now.

The light in Salvador de Bahia is unlike anything else I've seen before. The intensity, sharpness and contrast create surreal effects. Sometimes it seems all is lit out like a studio set. Hundreds of lamps, all exactly at the right angle, warmth and intensity make everything stand out exactly the way it should, or does it?

Salvador de Bahia I will map by the colours produced by this light. This is the way I will remember the people, the buildings, the skies, seas and sands. I will have to name this place by naming its colours. And to name these colours I will have to put labels on them. I will go around armed with my Pantone® guide and camera and note down all the colours that I find. This way I will always be able to find back my memories and connected feelings about this place. Whenever I need to come back I will just have to look at my map, look up the code of the colours, find them back in the guide, close my eyes and I'll be there. Just like tapping my heals together three times...



Alex Willian dos Santos Muniz, Alice Santos Marques, Débora dos Santos Aroxa, Diana dos Santos Aroxa, Eunice Dourado Ribeiro de Menezes, Isabela Caldas Araújo dos Santos, João Sebastião de Menezes Junior, Ludmila Souza de Jesus Santos, Maiana Ana Reis, Marcele Silva Santos, Marcos de Jesus Santos Neto, Rauan de Jesus Monteiro, Rebeca de Jesus Monteiro, Uelton Carlos do Amor divino, Valdiane Silva Santos, Vitória Muniz Valverde Gonçalves.


MATCHMAKER Shanghai was realised with generous support of the Mondriaan Foundation.

Go to www.mondriaanfoundation.nl

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