Between Life and Non-Life: Sachiko Kodama’s Black and Bridget Riley’s Pink

Yukiko Kato


The contemporary world is so technological that humans are located on the verge of life and non-life. Computers, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and androids permeate human society, and people are even fascinated by such menaces of the non-life. This paper clarifies why contemporary society loves the idea of the rise of artificial beings by analyzing the use of artificial colors – black and pink – by the cutting-edge female artists Sachiko Kodama and Bridget Riley.

Media artist Kodama uses black liquid while the abstract artist Riley uses pink pigments as key materials. According to Asao Komachiya, black is the color of the blind; it appears on the verge of being and non-being. Meanwhile, Barbara Nemitz identifies pink as an artificial color that does not exist in the spectrum of sunlight. Both colors are highly evaluated in technological and consumer society and widely used on many goods. Kodama’s and Riley’s high reputation signifies that contemporary society likes the precarious artificial beings between life and non-life. Moreover, their original and unique works have realized the field of liberty as their extensive use of artificial colors black and pink indicates ultra-human.

Kodama’s and Riley’s gender is also key. As Dora Haraway suggests in “Cyborg Manifesto” (1991), contemporary women, historically dealt with as peripheral existences, survive as ultra-human beings rather than the ancient goddesses. By considering significant female artists such as Kodama and Riley, we can understand not only the contemporary aesthetics of visual arts, but also the concurrent yearning of contemporary society for liberty, ultra-humanity, and non-life.


Article received: April 17, 2019; Article accepted: June 23, 2019; Published online: September 15, 2019: Review article

How to cite this article: Kato, Yukiko. "Between Life and Non-Life: Sachiko Kodama’s Black and Bridget Riley’s Pink." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 19 (2019): 109-115. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i19.311


black; Bridget Riley; color theory; cyborg; feminism; pink; Sachiko Kodama

Full Text:



Asendorf, Christoph. Batteries of Life: On the History of Things and Their Perception in Modernity, translated by Don Reneau. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1993.

Bering, Jesse. The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011.

Descartes, René. Discours de la method. Paris, Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 1967.

Haraway, Donna J. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London, New York: Free Association Books, Routledge, 1991.

Ishiguro, Hiroshi and Ichishi Iida. Hito wa androido ni naru tameni [For Humans to Become Androids]. Tōkyō: Chikuma Shobo, 2017.

Kodama, Sachiko. Myakudō suru jiseiryūtai Art. Bessatsu Nikkei Science Art suru Kagaku, Nikkei Science, 2016.

Komachiya, Asao. Iro no Fushigi Sekai. Harashobō, 2011.

Nemitz, Barbara, ed. Pink: The Exposed Color in Contemporary Art and Culture. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2006.

Padua, Sydney. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. London: Penguin Books, 2015.

Sasaki, Ken-ichi. Nihon-teki Kansei [Japanese Sensibilities]. Tokyo: Chuko Sinsyo, 2010.

Tanizaki, Junichir. In Praise of Shadows, translated by Gregory Starr. Sora Books, 2017.

Turing, Alan M. “On Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind 59 (1950): 433–460. Reprinted in Margaret A. Boden, ed. The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990, 40–66.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 AM Journal of Art and Media Studies

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

AM Journal of Art and Media Studies ISSN 2217-9666 - printed, ISSN 2406-1654 - online, UDK 7.01:316.774


Publisher: Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia

Indexed in: ERIH PLUSEBSCODOAJ, and in The List of Scientific Journals Categorization of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia (M24-2021). Beginning with No. 12 2017, AM is indexed, abstracted and covered in Clarivate Analytics service ESCI.