Eerie aesthetics of a red sky

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

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A brief departure from the aesthetics of joy to consider a very different kind of aesthetic…. I’ve never seen anything like these Sydney dust storms and I must say they freak me out. A world gone red is an eerie aesthetic, like something out of a sci-fi film. Out of curiosity I’d love to be there to witness it, but at the same time I think I’d find it really unsettling.

I write a lot here about the pleasure of oddity, when something defies our expectations of what it should be like. In this case, the sky is defying our color expectations, being red instead of blue, but it’s frightening, not joyous. A rainbow changes the color of the sky too, but our reaction is the opposite. I think magnitude must be an issue here. A red sky surrounds us ominously, its origins vague, its duration uncertain. A rainbow is distant, comparatively small, and fleeting. Color is one of the most powerful and immediate aesthetic signals, but its meaning is inscribed in scale and context.

Photos: Flickrblog

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September 22nd, 2009

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