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Over Saturated - Grafik

A recent Kickstarter project claims to have made a tool that has obsessed technologists for the best part of a decade. It is the concept of a colour-picker pen, a real world version of the familiar pipette used across photo editing software to sample and redeploy colours from within a digital image. MIT’s Tangible Media Lab cracked this back in 2004 with their I/O Brush, which captured not only colour but texture and even movement from physical objects before allowing you to ‘paint’ these back onto the screen. However, while impressive, this was still a process that only outputted in pixels. That is the hurdle that this most recent initiative has finally overcome. It is called the Scribble Pen and it will cost £90 for the most advanced version, the one that can reproduce a reported sixteen million colours directly onto paper. It achieves this by mixing ink from five different chambers on the fly, a scan and go system powered by a 16 bit colour sensor and an Arm 9 processor. It does have its limitations of course – based on the CMYK standard, there are areas of the colour field and levels of luminosity that it wont be able to reach. Nonetheless, this pen can be taken to stand for something much larger, an apotheosis in the sheer availability of colour. Anything that is over-supplied sees its affective currency fall. Our relationship to colour has been a attenuated by its ease of appropriation and reproduction, the cataloguing systems that capture this excess and the standards and hex values that identify it. When everything is tryable, applicable and swappable, colour is often reduced to a surface treatment.


Peter Maxwell

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