My current work is rooted in a years-long investigation of the color blaze orange in the context of rural and urban space and place. I was first introduced to this color while residing in Maine, where residents of the small town that I lived in were advised to wear blaze orange vests when spending time outdoors during the hunting seasons. Historically, guides in Maine suggested that hunters adopt this gaudy color as a “safeguard against the ignoramus.” I am interested in blaze orange as a warning sign and as a symbol of safety amidst danger: its visibility suggests that one be cautious of their surroundings. What happens if this color fails to communicate its message?
Blaze Breakers is an ongoing, multimedia project that utilizes analog and digital processes to distort, degrade, and destroy the color blaze orange. Four years ago I scanned a blaze orange bandana for use in a book I was producing about hunting textiles called Under Cover. The scanner’s software could not fully process the bright orange color and inserted glitchy green artifacts into the image. The technology could not represent the color accurately and my obsession with “breaking” blaze orange was born. Textile manipulation, digital image capturing, Instagram filtering and compression, traditional 35mm film processes, and projection methods are some of the technical approaches used in this continued investigation. I am interested in presenting the viewer with the artifacts of this once bright, purposeful color. The technical means to destroy the color produce new translations of what once were vibrant, urgent messages.