One of my first cultural green impressions was the 1970’s green goalkeepers top, it had this iconic colour association, like a flag or something special and distinct. The keeper must have a shirt that's different from the outfield players, so he's easy to spot, otherwise any player could handle the ball in the box. In terms of green, I'd say it's popular because it's unlikely to clash with any outfield kits, the vast majority of outfield player kits are some combination of red, blue, black and white - primarily.





Together when we started to form ‘green thing’, we talked about trying to put together a taxonomy of ‘the colour green’. Not in any linear form, rather out of our own and shared interests. The below in a small way might indicate and constitute ideas of the symbolic cultural qualities (mainly western, white christian or pagan) of the colour green that has probably influenced you and me and our shared interests in green things. So the idea here is to point towards some of the things that we have inherited in certain aesthetic knowledge, and I guess frame some of what we are trying to explore and contest in this piece of work together here.


I should say, I use pigments a lot and have a real interest in colour aesthetically as well as its associated symbolic qualities. - D








Green is common in nature, as many plants are green because of a complex chemical known as chlorophyll, which is involved in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll absorbs the long wavelengths of light (red) and short wavelengths of light (blue) much more efficiently than the wavelengths that appear green to the human eye, so light reflected by plants is enriched in green. Chlorophyll absorbs green light poorly because it first arose in organisms living in oceans where purple halobacteria were already exploiting photosynthesis. Their purple colour arose because they extracted energy in the green portion of the spectrum using bacteriorhodopsin. The new organisms that then later came to dominate the extraction of light were selected to exploit those portions of the spectrum not used by the halobacteria.


In the 15th century, the devil was green, as depicted by Michael Pacher in this Saint Wolfgang panel (1471-1475, Alte Pinakothek, Munich). Medieval poets such as Chaucer also drew connections between the colour green and the devil. In his Friar’s tale, the devil came dressed in green. Why? Green was perceived as a pleasant colour and one that attracted animals. Hunters dressed in green so as not to forewarn their prey. The Friar’s devil clearly fits this description. The devil is a hunter dressed in green seeking his prey “under a forest syde.”




Green is not a primary color, but is created by mixing yellow and blue. Green pigments have been used since Antiquity, both in the form of natural earth and malachite, used primarily by Egyptians. Greeks introduced verdigris, one of the first artificial pigments. Copper resinate was introduced in European 15th century easel painting, but was soon discarded. Thanks to chemistry, a new generation of greens was introduced beginning in the late 18th century: cobalt green, emerald green, and viridian.


Green is liminal, between blue and yellow, it’s vibrancy seasonal, in this it is abject - celebratory in discomfort and mutability. It can be adjusted. But it is steadfast in continuing replicated existence. -G


Animals typically use the color green as camouflage, blending in with the chlorophyll green of the surrounding environment. Most fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds appear green because of a reflection of blue light coming through an over-layer of yellow pigment. Perception of colour can also be affected by the surrounding environment. For example, broadleaf forests typically have a yellow-green light about them as the trees filter the light. Turacoverdin is one chemical which can cause a green hue in birds, especially. Invertebrates such as insects or mollusks often display green colours because of porphyrin pigments, sometimes caused by diet. This can cause their feces to look green as well. Other chemicals which generally contribute to greenness among organisms are flavins (lychochromes) and hemanovadin. Humans have imitated this by wearing green clothing as camouflage in military and other fields (not the goalkeeper !!). Substances that may impart a greenish hue to one's skin include biliverdin, the green pigment in bile, and ceruloplasmin, a protein that carries copper ions in chelation.


The green huntsman spider is green due to the presence of bile pigments in the spider's hemolymph (circulatory system fluids) and tissue fluids. It hunts insects in green vegetation, where it is well camouflaged.







There is no green pigment in green eyes; like the color of blue eyes, it is an optical illusion; its appearance is caused by the combination of an amber or light brown pigmentation of the stroma, given by a low or moderate concentration of melanin, with the blue tone imparted by the Rayleigh scattering of the reflected light. Green eyes are most common in Northern and Central Europe. They can also be found in Southern Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. In Iceland, 89% of women and 87% of men have either blue or green eye color. A study of Icelandic and Dutch adults found green eyes to be much more prevalent in women than in men. Among European Americans, green eyes are most common among those of recent Celtic and Germanic ancestry, about 16%.


Green is in eyes, and skin.

I remember this story of my childhood best friend - when she was little her mam came in drunk and panicked because she couldn’t see her eyelashes - she was scrabbling at her eyes trying to find her eyelashes.

Green eyes are apparently rare and therefore desirable. - G











Neolithic cave paintings do not have traces of green pigments, but neolithic peoples in northern Europe did make a green dye for clothing, made from the leaves of the birch tree. It was of very poor quality, more brown than green. Ceramics from ancient Mesopotamia show people wearing vivid green costumes, but it is not known how the colours were produced.



In Ancient Egypt, green was the symbol of regeneration and rebirth, and of the crops made possible by the annual flooding of the Nile. For painting on the walls of tombs or on papyrus, Egyptian artists used finely ground malachite, mined in the west Sinai and the eastern desert; a paintbox with malachite pigment was found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamun. They also used less expensive green earth pigment, or mixed yellow ochre and blue azurite. To dye fabrics green, they first coloured them yellow with dye made from saffron and then soaked them in blue dye from the roots of the woad plant.



For the ancient Egyptians, green had very positive associations. The hieroglyph for green represented a growing papyrus sprout, showing the close connection between green, vegetation that is often culturally associated with vigor and growth. In wall paintings, the ruler of the underworld, Osiris, was typically portrayed with a green face, because green was the symbol of good health and rebirth. Palettes of green facial makeup, made with malachite, were found in tombs. It was worn by both the living and the dead, particularly around the eyes, to protect them from evil. Tombs also often contained small green amulets in the shape of scarab beetles made of malachite, which would protect and give vigor to the deceased. It also symbolized the sea, which was called the "Very Green."




In Ancient Greece, green and blue were sometimes considered the same colour, and the same word sometimes described the color of the sea and the colour of trees. The philosopher Democritus described two different greens: cloron, or pale green, and prasinon, or leek green. Aristotle considered that green was located midway between black, symbolizing the earth, and white, symbolizing water. However, green was not counted among the four classic colours of Greek painting – red, yellow, black and white – and is rarely found in Greek art.


The Romans seem to have had a greater appreciation and use for the colour green; it was the color of Venus, the goddess of gardens, vegetables and vineyards. The Romans made a fine green earth pigment that was widely used in the wall paintings of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Lyon, Vaison-la-Romaine, and other Roman cities. They also used the pigment verdigris, made by soaking copper plates in fermenting wine. By the second century AD, the Romans were using green in paintings, mosaics and glass, and there were ten different words in Latin for varieties of green.


Bacchic greens would have been copper but only now do we see the green. Celebratory abundance of fertile harvests and feasts and frivolity might just be antiquated bullshit proto-bourgeois antics but it’s fun and it’s defiant and Saturnalias still happen in a way, it’s just that the moral attachment to them has changed and now we don’t see them as release but realignment of severity. -G



I have noticed that in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the colour of clothing showed a person's social rank and profession. Red could only be worn by the nobility, brown and gray by peasants, and green by merchants, bankers and the gentry and their families. The Mona Lisa wears green in her portrait, as does the bride in the Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck.

There were no good vegetal green dyes which resisted washing and sunlight for those who wanted or were required to wear green. Green dyes were made out of the fern, plantain, buckthorn berries, the juice of nettles and of leeks, the digitalis plant, the broom plant, the leaves of the fraxinus, or ash tree, and the bark of the alder tree, but they rapidly faded or changed color. Only in the 16th century was a good green dye produced, by first dyeing the cloth blue with woad, and then yellow with Reseda luteola, also known as yellow-weed.


Bad example, but the seats in the House of Lords are red, and in the House of Commons they are green. -G










I always think how did they work this out, how many disasters were there on the road to find these colours, all we now take for granted ‘off the shelf”, and we know the environmental impact the textile industry has created today with synthetic pigments.


The pigments available now are mainly synthetic (mostly really stable) but we see throughout history how pigments were more varied; monks in monasteries used verdigris, made by soaking copper in fermenting wine, to color medieval manuscripts. They also used finely-ground malachite, which made a luminous green. They used green earth colors for backgrounds.

During the early Renaissance, painters such as Duccio di Buoninsegna learned to paint faces first with a green undercoat, then with pink, which gave the faces a more realistic hue. Over the centuries the pink has faded, making some of the faces look green.




Pigments are smells - a liminal slipstream


Tornado of grass


The smell of skin


The smell of bodies -G




The perception of green occurs with light at wavelengths of roughly 520–570 *nm.


*nm - The Visible Light Spectrum – Wavelengths of Colours - A nanometer is a unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter.





The word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, “to grow.” Green is the colour of life. It is the colour of seasonal renewal. Since verdant spring triumphs over barren winter, green symbolised hope and immortality. I’ve read that the Chinese associate green (and black) with the female Yin - the passive and receiving principle. Also that Islam venerates the colour green, expecting paradise to be full of lush vegetation. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility, and rebirth due to its connections with nature.

Calling someone “green” indicates that they’re naive? Is green naive because of the association with growth or something? - G


Elsewhere I read that in Alchemy, solvents for gold were named "Green Lion" or "Green Dragon" by the alchemists. Such liquids were instrumental in the beginning of the alchemistic Opus Magnum. Transparent green crystal symbolized the "secret fire," which represented the living spirit of substances.

Green wallpaper may have contributed to the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. Scheele’s Green was a copper arsenite paint that was first produced in 1778 for commercial use: arsenic and lead and organic pigments from plants.


I hate looking too closely at things with holes in them, I don’t think I could ever eat tripe. -G


It’s quite common to see how green is often used to symbolize rebirth and renewal and immortality. In Ancient Egypt for example; the god Osiris, king of the underworld, was depicted as green-skinned. Green as the colour of hope is connected with the color of springtime; hope represents the faith that things will improve after a period of difficulty (very much what we explored in ‘green space’ Grace), like the renewal of flowers and plants after the winter season.


It’s cyclical, but hopeful, but humorous in the acceptance of the inevitable repetitions… -G


Green product – this is a big subject and object today.


Green is also the traditional colour of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead,


And we have the US green card.


Green = go



Green today is not commonly associated in Europe with love and sexuality, but in stories of the medieval period it sometimes represented love and the base, natural desires of man.


It was the colour of the serpent in the Garden of Eden who caused the downfall of Adam and Eve.





The grass is always greener…

You want to conquer the Other (thing) and make it ‘mine’. You do this by seeing it and smelling it and eating it and shitting it back out again, and again. You make it familiar by merging and overcoming and stretching.

Green with envy - G










However, for the troubadours, green was the colour of growing love, and light green clothing was reserved for young women who were not yet married.

The drink absinthe was known as "the green fairy"


In Persian and Sudanese poetry, dark-skinned women, called "green" women, were considered erotic. The Chinese term for cuckold is ‘to wear a green hat’. This was because in ancient China, prostitutes were called ‘the family of the green lantern’ and a prostitute's family would wear a green headscarf.


In Victorian England, the color green was associated with homosexuality.


It makes me laugh that ambivalent ‘gay time’ is talked about so heterosexually, when it makes so much for green to literally be ‘gay time’.  -G










In the wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City in this story is a place where everyone wears tinted glasses that make everything appear green.



The first recorded green party was a political faction in Constantinople during the 6th century Byzantine Empire. which took its name from a popular chariot racing team. They were bitter opponents of the blue faction, which supported Emperor Justinian I and which had its own chariot racing team. In 532 AD rioting between the factions began after one race, which led to the massacre of green supporters and the destruction of much of the center of Constantinople.


Green was the traditional colour of Irish nationalism, beginning in the 17th century. The green harp flag, with a traditional gaelic harp, became the symbol of the movement. It was the banner of the Society of United Irishmen, which organized the Irish Rebellion of 1798, calling for Irish independence. The uprising was suppressed with great bloodshed by the British army. When Ireland achieved independence in 1922, green was incorporated into the national flag.



In the 1970s green became the color of the third biggest Swiss Federal Council political party, the Swiss People's Party SVP. The ideology is Swiss nationalism, national conservatism, right-wing populism, economic liberalism, agrarianism, isolationism, euroscepticism. The SVP was founded on September 22, 1971 and has 90,000 members.


In the 1980s green became the colour of a number of new European political parties organized around an agenda of environmentalism. Green was chosen for its association with nature, health, and growth. The largest green party in Europe is Alliance '90/The Greens (German: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) in Germany, which was formed in 1993 from the merger of the German Green Party, founded in West Germany in 1980, and Alliance 90, founded during the Revolution of 1989–1990 in East Germany. In the 2009 federal elections, the party won 11% of the votes and 68 out of 622 seats in the Bundestag.


Green parties in Europe have programs based on ecology, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, and social justice. Green parties are found in over one hundred countries, and most are members of the Global Green Network.



It’s hard to situate greenest in a political context without recognising the popular symbolism of ‘green’, the ‘greens’, ‘the green parties’, the ‘new green deal’. Positive connotations for green mostly. They’re missing a trick. Green is the new red folks. -G




Greenpeace - non-governmental environmental organization which emerged from the anti-nuclear and peace movements in the 1970s. Its ship for example, the Rainbow Warrior, frequently tried to interfere with nuclear tests and whaling operations. The movement now has branches in forty countries.


The Australian Greens party was founded in 1992. In the 2010 federal election, the party received 13% of the vote (more than 1.6 million votes) in the Senate, a first for any Australian minor party.


Green is the colour associated with Puerto Rico's Independence Party, the smallest of that country's three major political parties, which advocates Puerto Rican independence from the United States.



Green is the traditional colour of Islam. According to tradition, the robe and banner of Muhammad were green, and according to the Koran (XVIII, 31 and LXXVI, 21) those fortunate enough to live in paradise wear green silk robes. Muhammad is quoted in a hadith as saying that "water, greenery, and a beautiful face" were three universally good things.

Al-Khidr ("The Green One"), was an important Qur'anic figure who was said to have met and traveled with Moses. He was given that name because of his role as a diplomat and negotiator. Green was also considered to be the median colour between light and obscurity.



Roman Catholic and more traditional Protestant clergy wear green vestments at liturgical celebrations during *Ordinary Time. In the Eastern Catholic Church, green is the colour of Pentecost. Green is one of the Christmas colours as well, possibly dating back to pre-Christian times, when evergreens were worshiped for their ability to maintain their colour through the winter season. Romans used green holly and evergreen as decorations for their winter solstice celebration called Saturnalia, which eventually evolved into a Christmas celebration. In Ireland and Scotland especially, green is used to represent Catholics, while orange is used to represent Protestantism. This is shown on the national flag of Ireland.


* Ordinary Time is that part of the Christian liturgical year outside of Advent, Christmastide, Lent, the Easter Triduum, and Eastertide - The season celebrates the mysteries of Christ's life and death and looks forward to the salvation and eternal life that he brings. Green here is seen to represent hope-- E.G.  the idea of hope felt when some see the first buds in springtime.



Green rooms are a perfect example of green space as in a kind of liminal limbo - between designated spaces and set times. -G















Having a green thumb (American English) or green fingers (British English). To be passionate about or talented at gardening. The expression was popularized beginning in 1925 by a BBC gardening program.

  • Greenhorn. Someone who is inexperienced.
  • Green-eyed monster. Refers to jealousy.
  • Greenmail. A term used in finance and corporate takeovers. It refers to the practice of a company paying a high price to buy back shares of its own stock to prevent an unfriendly takeover by another company or businessman. It originated in the 1980s on Wall Street, and originates from the green of dollars.
  • Green room. A room at a theater where actors rest when not onstage, or a room at a television studio where guests wait before going on-camera. It originated in the late 17th century from a room of that colour at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.
  • Greenwashing. Environmental activists sometimes use this term to describe the advertising of a company which promotes its positive environmental practices to cover up its environmental destruction.
  • Green around the gills. A description of a person who looks physically ill.
  • Going green. An expression commonly used to refer to preserving the natural environment, and participating in activities such as recycling materials.



Green has ultra-narrative; stories flashing analeptics, weaving and divulging and lessening and abundant. Ultra-linear. Non-negative in choosing over-indulgence in verdancy. Not over-masticatory, but just rhythmically chewed enough to whet the appetite.  -G



I wanted to add how when I read Goethe contra Newton: Polemics and the Project for a New Science of Colour, by Sepper, L , I related to how Goethe proposed that colour perception is not a solely scientific act, it was an experiential emotionally relative act, in criticising Newton’s theory of light and colours in the Farbenlehre (1810). He managed to show that Newton’s reasoning is based on a rather narrow choice of experiments, in which parameters such as the distance between the prism and the screen are fixed arbitrarily: Newton’s famous spectrum (with its green centre) occurs only at a specific distance. Once you reduce the distance, the green centre disappears, and you see the two border spectra instead. Thus by insisting that the step to theory is not forced upon us by “reason and experiments” alone (as Newton would have it), Goethe revealed our own free, creative contribution to theory construction. And surprisingly, his theory of the prismatic colours seems no worse off than Newton’s, even taking into account additional criteria of theory choice, such as simplicity or elegance.









I have always had a green bedroom. -G


As a boy, I never had a green goalkeepers top, though I do remember the competition to see who could pull the biggest ‘green un’ from our noses. - D







And not forgetting this album





And we both like this,

For Reverend Green, Animal collective:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ytPNb75Ho


And Greensleeves being a traditional English folksong favourite, which we’d like to believe was composed by Henry VIII for his future love, Anne Boleyn.


“He’s reyt green him” - G


It's going to be like a green pub quiz soon :) - D