Jessica Houston

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Influence

For the NJ MOCA installation, in the 1920s Asbury Park Convention Hall in New Jersey, I asked residents of Asbury Park to describe a color they felt strongly about. Based on these conversations, I tinted the windowpanes of the Convention Hall orange — the color that evoked the strongest response. The colored gels within the grid of the windowpanes altered the view of the ocean beyond and cast reflections back into the exhibition hall. The composition of the gels was completed by the sky, and the horizon of the ocean, which changed according to the viewer’s vantage point.  

The recordings of people’s descriptions were amplified in a nearby stairwell. Here, the viewer was not looking at the color but listening to it, prompting an imagined color experience and testing the perceptual capacities of insight. The various interpretations revealed that one color lends itself to innumerable readings.  While we all stand under (understand) a blue sky, the space between one person’s blue and another’s is full of reflection.