The Color of Water: Algorithmic Sea

Transparent. Translucent. Opaque. Reflective. What is the color of Water?

In this installation, water is a reflecting pool for both the human and computational understanding of color. Like water, these perceptions are always transforming.

The web and physical installation The Color of Water: Algorithmic Sea explores the sociotechnical perception of color, especially how it is actualized through computer systems and their algorithms. The sea of colors shown in the installation is composed of a multitude of user generated colors. These colors undulate between the user and computer algorithmic processes.

In 1814, Abraham Gottlob Werner created color charts with the ambition of making a color standard through naming corresponding minerals. The Color of Water (2019-2020), a photographic body of work by artist Sarah Schorr, expands Werner’s charts to include the feminist, embodied, and situational dimensions of color by amending the charts to include metallic reflective colors. The Color of Water: Algorithmic Sea extends this inquiry, marking a collaboration between Sarah Schorr, researcher Gabriel Pereira, and creative coder Vamoss.

Through this installation and a digital essay, we do not provide a definite answer to the question of what is the color of water for a human or a computer. Instead, we seek to reflect the inherent qualities of "partial," "change", and “bias” through the critical collecting, analyzing, and displaying of a sea of colors. This installation invites you and the algorithm to see color as a flow, as opposed to a fixed variable.

Add your color to the sea here.

Sarah Schorr is an American photographic artist, researcher, and educator. A captivation with light, water, and modes of feminist embodied contemplation runs through her work. Schorr’s work has been widely exhibited since her first solo show at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York. She was selected for a Terra Foundation Fellowship (2021) and a Munn Artist Fellowship (2022) with artist-in-residency at Monet House from the Versailles Foundation in France. Recently, Schorr's image ebbtide received the director's prize at the Griffin Museum of Photography which resulted in an solo exhibition and catalogue in 2023. In 2020, Schorr’s work was honored by the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for women photographers in the category of nude (first prize) as part of an exhibition at the Fotonostrum Gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Schorr enjoys collaborating with other artists, writers, and researchers. Her artist catalogue, “Borrowed Glitter,” is accompanied by an essay from author and national book award finalist Phyllis Rose. Since earning her PhD, Schorr’s own research has been published in collected books and journals. Her book “The Color of Water,” with words by Elizabeth Avedon and Anne Marie Kragh Pahuus accompanied a (2021) solo show of her work at Galleri Image in Aarhus, Denmark and a (2022) solo show at the Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu, Finland.
Gabriel Pereira is a researcher PhD fellow at Aarhus University (Denmark). Previously, he was a visiting graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. His research focuses on critical studies of data, computer vision algorithms, and digital infrastructures, using both social scientific and artistic methodologies. Projects with Gabriel have been exhibited in the 33rd Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the Van Abbemuseum, IDFA DocLab, Itaú Cultural,, and academic journals/conferences. He is a Researcher in Residence at the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR).
Vamoss is a creative coder and Technology Director at SuperUber since 2011. He integrates content, hardware, software, design and architecture to develop unique projects. Graduated in Design at ESPM-Rio, he works with interactive media since 2004, developing projects for new Media, Mobile and Web. He is now investigating the Creative Community in Brazil at the Master program in Creative Economics at ESPM-Rio, where by engaging the creative code community he intends to create a collaborative platform for sharing knowledge between the creative coders and society.