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LFQ1.1 – Syjuco, Color Reading

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Towards a New Theory of Color Reading (2008)was produced for Total Fabrications, Stephanie Syjuco’s 2008 exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Three four-color newspapers were piled on shipping palettes for visitors to take, their sheets pinned to bulletin boards for comparison. Their designs are based on El Día, a Spanish-language paper that has since gone out of print; The Manila Headline, which is directed toward a Filipino-American audience; and The Houston Forward Times, which is African-American owned and published. Each abstraction is organized according to the same system: blocks of yellow stand in for text, black for newspaper information, cyan for photos, and red for advertisements. Primary colors divided into uneven rectangles reference Bauhaus, a school that emphasized design in concert with utility. The leveling gesture of translating text into color makes the differences between source papers distinct: the ratio of information to advertisement in each becomes immediately clear. Large swaths of red demonstrate that reading the newspaper is never as simple as receiving the news. Syjuco shifts the function of these newspapers; rather than transmit information, they parody easy analysis, alluding to multiple definitions of color. Towards a New Theory of Color Reading is included in the first issue of Landfill Quarterly.