For a history of black
Scan: Journal of Media Arts Culture, 5, (1)
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in the presence of light, black is only ever virtual. I mean the word in its technical sense: black is an unrealised capacity, the goal of a tendency that is never fully realised. The alternative, in ?lm and electronic imaging, has been to achieve maximum contrast: that is, to use the wisdom of colour combinations to persuade us that the greys of the screen are blacks. If black is always unreachable as ideal absence, these formal allocations of blackness to greys are equally virtual, an expression of the capacity of such greys to become black. Because being black is never an actualised event, we must speak of becoming black: the unrealisable destiny of certain tonal combinations in systems reliant on projected or backlit images.
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