Adam Lenz - Yellow

8:07, 2013, Video Art
The color yellow signifies a complex set of meanings. Although it is a symbol of power, warmth, and optimism, it also conjures up feelings of caution, illness, overindulgence, and cowardice. These darker shades of yellow are embodied as a term used to degrade one’s character and challenge their masculinity, ostracizing an individual from the general population. Drawing on a quote from the landmark novel Catcher in the Rye (1951), Yellow is constructed as a short-film portrait of the author J.D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye is often considered one of the defining novels of the Twentieth Century, but the fame that came along with Salinger’s early success established a line of criticism that would mar the remainder of his career. This criticism drove Salinger deep into seclusion, largely hiding him from the public eye. Ironically, the notions of self-criticism and avoidance expressed by Salinger’s character Holden Caulfield in this quote became the same obstacles Salinger himself was left to face after the publication of the novel. As our field of vision is overindulged with the sheer volume of yellow, the vibrancy of the living plants that make up the film’s content is sharply contrasted with the amplified sounds of dead plants. This juxtaposition of overwhelming visual beauty and harsh aural abrasion parallels the feelings of self criticism we experience in the wake of devastation in our own lives. While we become fixated on the idea of yellow, its beauty is tarnished and we are left with feelings of disgust and contempt. In the end, we are left to ponder Caulfield’s words “what you should be is not yellow at all.”
DirectorAdam Lenz


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