Geographies of colour: Practices and performances of repair
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Despite its historical associations with excess and contamination, colour is increasingly being used as a popular transformative tool to revitalise bodies and spaces. In this thesis, I examine the variety of ways that colour is mobilised in the pursuit of repair. Traditional approaches used to explain feelings emerging from exposure to particular colours are overwhelmingly positivist, dominated by the biological and psychological sciences and present conflicting results. In contrast, my research is grounded in an ethnographic, geographical approach that examines colour from the scale of the city, the neighbourhood and the body, allowing for a more carefully considered, qualitative exploration between colour, human experience and space. Beginning with the scale of the city, the first part of this thesis concerns colour in the architectural imagination, examining the claims made by architects and artists working on the design of regeneration projects in London. Analysing the vitalist discourses embedded in the claims circulating around the use of colour, I examine how colour is perceived to perform repair amongst practitioners, with respect to the range of architectural imaginations of urban vitality. The second focus of this thesis is placed the neighbourhood level, framed within the politics of localism that seeks to empower communities. Focusing on the Dulux Let’s Colour project, a scheme that donates paint to local communities to revitalise grey spaces, I examine the politics of nominated spaces ‘in need’ of colour and draw on my participation in an active community painting initiative, colouring a disused bingo hall in Barking, East London. Lastly, my investigation hones in to explore the relationship between colour, the body and emotion. Investigating the proliferation of new ludic colour experiences, such as colour runs, I explore the complexity of how emotional responses to colour in these events are orchestrated and experienced. From the perception of colour’s therapeutic repair of bodies in the hospital, to the urban and social repair performed through local painting initiatives, my research critically examines how the contingent and affective chromatic materiality of our urban environment emerges in the claims, knowledge production and practices of colour in urban culture, architecture and health.
AuthorsPeacock, Hayley Elizabeth
- Theses