[ISEA2011] Abstract: Jordan Tate, Adam Tindale & Ryan Boatright – Colour Data Processing: An interactive installation exploring digital and analog representations of colour


Colour Data Processing questions the veracity of photographic and digital reproduction, but not with the intent of challenging the context or state of photography, but rather establishing photography as a flawed method of reproduction.
Our system recontextualizes the functionality of the Gretag MacBeth ColorChecker1, addressing the instance of digital reproduction and valuing data over the accuracy of reproducing the physical referent. However, our referent is collected data from a sensor rather than the colour rendition chart, removing our process by a full reproductive generation. We embrace the same deviations and error commonly found in digital reproduction to critique and analyze our current methods of digital photographic reproductions.

We share an interest in questioning the representational nature of photography from technological, conceptual, and theoretical perspectives and what affect the instance of reproduction has on the perception of reality, or on the original. We intend to discuss the theoretical and practical implications of digital reproduction, colour sorting, and the function of algorithms (both practically and aesthetically) in image processing, reproduction, and manipulation.

Our proof-of-concept installation uses a webcam, custom-built computer, and a projector as a capture-processing-output device to implement our exploration and exposing of the colour representation. Processing2 was used to create custom software that determines the accuracy of colour by comparing RGB data to a pre-determined palette using Cartesian distance in 3D space. Two different representations are processed and displayed by the system. The first feed shows a live representation of the viewers with their colours shifted to a colour palette consisting of 64 different colours. The second video feed displays a black and white representation of the amount of shifting (or error) that occurred when the colours were converted.


  1. McCamy, C.S., Marcus, H., and Davidson, J.G. A Color Rendition Chart. Journal of Applied Photographic Engineering, p. 95-99, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1976.
  2. processing.org
  • Jordan Tate is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Tate, a Fulbright Fellow (2008-2009), has a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Indiana University. Tate is the author of the recently published “The Contemporary Dictionary of Sexual Euphemisms” from St. Martin’s Press (2007); his work is currently held in collections nationwide, including Rhizome at the New Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Tate is the founding editor of the contemporary art blog   ilikethisart.net.  jordantate.com
  • Adam TindaleRyan Boatright  [ISEA2011 provided no biographical information]

Full text (PDF) p. 2332-2334  [title slightly different]