The notional 3-axis color model for human vision, or ‘experiential color’ after Munsell, and used ever since for color specification, has three variables or three ‘axes’ , hue, saturation, brightness, these can be represented by a 3D sphere where North – South is white through black, with neutral colorless gray in the middle, the equatorial ring circles around through the hues radiating outwards, and the distance out away from the vertical axis represents greater saturation. in this way any possible color can be represented. However, the experience of seeing is much more than this as we know.
Its a three dimensional conceptional model, not 2D and not 4D. Bee vision requires a 4 or 5D model which is hard o represent and it goes ‘off our screen’ literally. This ‘three dimensionality’ dominates our conceptual field for the average person, which is to say ‘how we conceptualise things’. As we study phenomenological and maths issues in more depth i believe we actually begin to ‘see’ more, or bring more of the available complexity into consciousness. Jessie this is analagous to Pauline Oliveros’ ‘deep listening’ but with light.
Within this 3D sphere we can try to represent additional variables.
Regarding vision, the way this representation relates to how the brain actually navigates light information is complex. Although the brain ‘knows about’ the x-y-z axes of this model, it doesn’t interact with them directly like that. the visual system actively adjusts for a ‘white balance’ independently of the hue cast of ambient light in order to obtain the maximum color contrasts in any of the many different ambient light conditions we experience. We are not particularly conscious of even quite big changes in the hue of ambient light since that isnt what we prioritise. This consciously constructed ‘color constancy’ is analogous to the ship’s compass mounted on a 3D gimbal system in order to always seek north irrespective of the pitching and yawing of the ship. All our senses have this feature of ‘seeking the referential’. It relates to what David talks about in that we need a degree of opacity for our senses to work. Speaking by way of analogy, the brain intersects this multiple vector neurological space with an inclined plane or ’tilted activation space’ in order to produce a bias in the result, just like poking the water surface with an imaginary stick. An example of the inclined plane or tilted activation space is seen in the ‘yellow – violet’ vector, one of the vectors used in color vision. the yellow is ‘light’ and the violet is ‘dark’ so at maximum saturation, i.e., percievable opposites, exist not on the horizontal plane of the model, but on a tilted activation plane that mirrors the maximum possible hue contrast in that vector. the ‘opposite’ vector is red green. Varying interactions of the ‘red-green’ vector with the ‘yellow-violet’ vector give all of the available colour experiences.
One way of thinking about the model is that red-green goes across the ellipse sideways, while yellow – violet goes from the top of the ellipse to the bottom, ie they differnt types of vector. (here i am transgressing the munsell model ‘which is not about ‘seeing’ but about pigments.) A single vector (e.g., ‘more yellow’) is thought to equate to a ‘representation of the ephemeral’ while a tilted activation space is step towards a ‘representation of the enduring’ – so on my diagram the elliptical path set out within the tilted plane, if rendered in colors, would pass through a choreographed sequence of colour variation with a perceivable set of complex aesthetic relationships displaying a progressive change of all three attributes such as the ‘colours of autumn’ etc.
however this diagram is only the start.. the next thing to imagine in this dimensional space is what’s called a ‘sculpted activation space’ or, within the model, some kind of mathematical ‘object’ (rather than just the ellipse on the diagram) the suite of variables it characterises are a recognizable neurological signature of something in the phenomenal world which has meaning to us such as the colours of our home, the colours of africa, a ripe tomato etc. The hues themselves (single vectors) are only a tiny part of this so we need a lot more to make a ‘sculpted activation space’
if you want to look into this in more depth Paul Churchlands book ‘Platos Camera; how the brain captures a landscape of abstract universals’ is the best so far and reflects huge advances in cognitive modelling.
I’m interested in how calligraphy on the 2D plane somehow evokes all this and more through gesture, and the weekend at the mill was an exciting jump in my appreciation of where all this connects to thinking and networking.
it all started with a big dot……