In 1999 I constructed a device specifically for live visual performances with colored light. The instrument is based on work I started more than 20 years earlier using colored lights behind a diffusing screen. I named the device a “chromaccord”.
A chromaccord is a visual instrument that displays areas of variable color on a diffusing screen. Colored light sources behind the screen are controlled with a panel of dimmers. (See diagram below.) The display has a circle of color surrounded by a broader area. I added panels of a third “reference” color on each side. The perception of a color is influenced by colors around it, so three color areas define each other.
The object-surround arrangement has been used since the nineteenth century to demonstrate proximity effects between colors. Some of the color phenomena described by Josef Albers in his book Interaction of Color, 1963, bring clarity to object-surround color effects. The original impulse for the design of the chromaccord was to be able to play freely with color interactions.
If a viewer holds their gaze on the center-point of the screen, the colors are mapped to the retina. When a color changes, the afterimage of the initial color is superimposed on the new color, altering it, and suggesting further possible color changes for the performer. With practice, a performer can manipulate colors to “play” variations in simultaneous contrast and sequential contrast to create color cadences that can be beautiful or raw, enticing or jarring, warm or cold, blatant or subtle, smooth or abrupt, rhythmic or random…
The emotional environment of a performance can be enhanced by music, particularly when it works with the hypnotic qualities of the chromaccord.
The 1999 chromaccord was built with 5-watt incandescent bulbs (with a color filter on every one) arrayed behind a diffusing screen. However, there are other ways to make a chromaccord, especially since the advent of colored LEDs.
More on chromaccord theory.
More on other chromaccords.
Jan 28, 2021