Hard Cover, English, Thread Stitching, 1088 Pages, 2021
In Noir – A Serendipitous Encyclopedia Inspired by 1001 Names for the Color Black graphic designer Sandra Praun takes on the color black and the language that charges it with a variety of characteristics. The book consists of three parts:
The first comprises 1,001 names for different nuances of black, taken from, for example, make-up, car paint, artist pigments, tattoo ink, and house paint. The often expressive names have been collated into an associative flow that transports the reader from countries and cities, over mountains and oceans, down among plants and animals, out into space, to myths and religions, power and eroticism, war and death.
The second part is a lexicon using a selection of the names as its point of departure. The contents of the articles are based on a variety of materials, collected with a serendipitous method. The name that a manufacturer has chosen for its black shade becomes a growing network of tributaries connecting to the world. Following the different branches leads to vastly different contexts such as pop music, contemporary art, sports, poetry, film, dictionaries, political speeches, and scientific articles. One or other autobiographical detail has been scattered among the articles. The different sources, perspectives, and media give a multifaceted impression of the connotative and associative capacity of the color.
In the third part, the 1,001 names are listed in alphabetical order along with their product category and manufacturer. A marker indicates whether the name is included in the lexicon or not.
The book includes an essay by artist Oscar Guermouche. The text debates the word “black” and what it means to the objects, phenomena, and people it is ascribed to.