If 18-1750 sounds like a color to you, you’re either a Cochineal or an AI bot. Pantone’s Color of the Year 2023 is a combination of Natural and Artificial Intelligence. Cochineals are sessile insects from the suborder of Sternorrhyncha, who thrive on Opuntia cactus plants in the tropical Americas. It is from these insects that carmine, a natural dye, is obtained for the vibrant textiles of Oaxaca, Mexico. Imported to Europe after the Spanish arrived in the Americas, carmine colored both the red coats of British military officers who marched across London Bridge and the red regalia of Roman Catholic cardinals. Carmine became Mexico’s second-most popular export, after silver, during the 17th century. Today, the color still enlivens Mexican textiles and art including Oaxacan Alebrijes.”
Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman, originator of Pantone’s Color of the Year concept and arbiter of the tone of the year 2023, commented that after selecting Viva Magenta “a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative” (Pantone 2022), Pantone utilized AI image-generation by Midjourney, to create a Magentaverse.
Another virtual aspect of Viva Magenta or 18-1750 is that the color does not actually exist. Magenta does not have a wavelength of light: it is a mix of red and purple, the two points on the color spectrum that merge into each other. Magenta is created in our brains that fill in the space to form a virtual color.
As you begin the year 2023, how will you balance two kinds of intelligence: Natural and Virtual?
Brooke, K. Lusk. “How Pantone Colors the Year.” page 132-134. Renewing the World: Water (2022). ISBN: 978-8-9850359-1-9.
Feldman, Ella. “What is Viva Magenta, Pantone’s ‘Brave’ and ‘Fearless’ Color of the Year?” 2 December 2022. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/viva-magenta-pantone-color-of-the-year-2023-180981230
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. “Cochineal” Read in English and Leer en Español. https://hmsc.harvard.edu/cochineal
Pantone. “Color of the Year 2023 – Viva Magenta” https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year/2023
Settembre, Amelia. “Magenta: The Color That Doesn’t Exist and Why.” 26 February 2020, The Medium. https://medium.com/swlh/magenta-the-color-that-doesnt-exist-and-why-ec40a6348256
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G. Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Un