Sunday, July 13, 2014

Colored Meaning

Every morning I walk into a certain hallway in the HPAC basement and enjoy the beauty of the painted pipes in the ceiling.  There are few things in Japan so colorful, and perhaps even fewer that exist without purpose.   I've enjoyed the pipes for these extrinsic qualities as well as the sheer pleasure of their color in a dark, sunless world.

But today, exiting from the opera pit through the labyrinths of the HPAC basement, I discovered a sign that has changed my view of the lower level world.  It was a color key.

Does it change their beauty that their appearance is a matter of function?  Something in me had taken delight in believing that their colorful painting was the frivolity of humanity, creating uselessly but persistently in this dark world.  It is absurd how we spin around without meaning, and perhaps absurd that we try to make meaning of it.

But these pipes have meaning and I wonder if that makes more sense than beauty for the sake of itself.  I suspect that regardless of seeing this sign on the wall, I will still enjoy their appearance, meaningless or not.

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