Konstantinos Doumpenidis

Visual Artist and Creative Director
Live and work in Athens, Greece 

Creative Director of Juicer Studio
Part of Esto Association


CV - About


Facts about orange

March, 2016

"Facts About Orange" is a captivating and thought-provoking retrospective expedition that embarks on an immersive odyssey through the intricate evolution of the color "orange." This meticulously crafted chronicle carefully arranges a series of historical milestones, allowing us to trace the enthralling metamorphosis of orange from its origins as a symbol of security and jubilation to its eventual embodiment of uncertainty and fear.

This enthralling project unfolds as a mesmerizing four-channel installation, where visitors can fully submerge themselves in the vibrant visuals, becoming active participants in the narrative. Additionally, a comprehensive website complements the installation, offering readers unrestricted access to the complete text. This digital portal beckons readers to plunge deeper into the intricate layers of this captivating color's multifaceted story. The combination of immersive installations and an inviting digital platform ensures that "Facts About Orange" serves as an unparalleled exploration into the color's rich history and profound symbolism.

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The color orange radiates warmth and happiness, combining the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow. The color psychology of orange is optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating our spirit. Psychologists insist that orange is so optimistic that we should all find ways to use it in our everyday life. Orange brings spontaneity and a positive outlook on things and is a great color to use during tough times, keeping us motivated and helping us to look on the bright side of life. With its enthusiasm for life, the color orange relates to adventure and risk-taking, inspiring confidence and independence. Those inspired by orange are always on the go!

This point of views seems to be common in Europe and America where orange and yellow are the colors most associated with amusement, frivolity and entertainment. As a historic example, Toulouse-Lautrec used a palette of yellow, black and orange in his posters of Paris cafes and theatres, and Henri Matisse used an orange, yellow and red palette in the Joy of Living. Regarding religions and ancient cultures assosiated with orange, in Confucianism the philosophy of ancient China, orange was the color of transformation.

In Buddhism orange was about illumination, the highest state of perfection. The orange colors of robes to be worn by monks were defined by the Buddha himself and his followers in the 5th century BC. The robe and its color is a sign of renunciation of the outside world and commitment to the order.

In modern times of 20th century orange turned to be used in more practical aspects. The high visibility of orange made it a popular color for certain kinds of equipment. Orange was also widely worn by workers on highways and by cyclists to avoid being hit by cars, and for the flights suits of the crews of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station during the 1980s. During the Second World War, U.S. Navy pilots in the Pacific began to wear orange inflatable life jackets, which could be spotted by search and rescue planes. A herbicide called Agent Orange was widely sprayed from aircraft by the Royal Air Force during the Malayan Emergency and the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War to remove the forest and jungle cover beneath which enemy combatants were believed to be hiding, and to expose their supply routes.

Orange also had a political dimension. In Ukraine in November–December 2004, it became the color of the Orange Revolution, a popular movement which carried activist and reformer Viktor Yushchenko into the presidency. Prisoners are also sometimes dressed in orange uniforms since 1970s — usually only in special detention situations as for example in transit. Sheriffs sometimes put prisoners in orange during perp walks in front of reporters, and prisoners often wear orange in court. Detainees held at the US-run Guantanamo Bay detention camp are typically issued one of two uniforms, either a white jumpsuit if the prisoner has been labelled “compliant”, or an orange jumpsuit if the detainee has been labelled “non-compliant”.

The orange jumpsuits of detainees is supposed to be the main reason why ISIS put orange clothes on people before beheading them, as a propaganda tool against Guantanamo Bay. It is a symbolic gesture of the militant rage against the detention and torture of terror suspects in Guantanamo. The US seems to have always had suspects wear orange, and soon Al Qaeda and other militant groups took to dressing their captives in it too.

Simultaneously, orange because of its visibility in dim light or against the water, is consequently known as safety orange, the colour of choice for life-jackets apparently the most necessary items of the equipment of refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea. During the refugees crisis the Turkish police have uncovered a factory producing fake life-jackets, shining a light on a booming cottage industry that has emerged as a by product of the refugee crisis. Police allegedly seized 1,263 life-jackets filled with non-buoyant materials from an illegal workshop in Izmir that employed two Syrian children. It seems like in a way Syrian people produce their life-jackets by themselves. In the same period bodies of people washed up on turkish and greek beaches, having drowned in their attempt to reach freedom.

Safety orange does not seem to be safe any more.