by Michael Atavar (2001)

Launch Project

thethingasitis™ consists of a single web page full of “blue screen” blue . This is the shade of blue that a video and monitor display when a signal is sent through the circuit, without image content. The blue plays at being pure and unmediated. However, this purity is also undermined by the soft blue text that is animated on top of it. The text varies, but it generally recounts Atavar’s personal accounts of using HTML code for color design. Some of the text includes direct references to HTML color, such as, “html colours are completely undervalued,” or that these colors should be looked at “in themselves”—a reference to a kind of metaphysics where “to see,” and is to know a thing as it is in itself, or, the thingliness of the thing, that is, its essence. But here, Atavar has intentionally offset the possibility of accessing an essence. There is no possible essence for HTML color, as it involves a two-tier process from hexadecimal code, through its execution as visual content. The thingliness of the thing reveals that there is no one thing, but several things, (culture, convention, commercialism) that make the thingliness of thing appear essential.