The Color of Wallpaper

Ruminations on a desktop background image

Objective: the color of wallpaper

In Color Theory, there is a visual perception phenomenon known as simultaneous contrast. Briefly, this phenomenon tricks the eye into ‘seeing’ the same color—which has been placed at different points within an image—as different colors depending on its surroundings. 

The following shows the same color (3) times, each by a different name, captioned by a different subject. Perhaps, a little game of ‘Simultaneous Contrast by Words.’ Subject(s) include the use of on-screen technology, musing on gender identification, and family.

The click of a ‘fresh’ link, bringing you to a new-to-your-browser-history webpage. The pause in the stream of your routine, morning scroll—not stroll—when you realize it’s another new day but, lately, there’s something unnaturally passive about the way you’ve continued to tell yourself that ‘you’re fine’ with ‘this.’ The swatch you use to wash out the daunting checkerboard inherent to the ‘birth’ of a new, software-generated image because it was left behind in the cherry picker from the last time you whipped out a project (that you don’t remember finishing). 

My sibling recently returned home from college with their non-binary flag, now adhered to their bedroom ceiling. I considered gifting them a lapel pin to match the flag. During my exploration for a gift, I found an on-line shop marketing ‘subtle pride’ pins in various colors and forms. I fixated on the pins labeled ‘agender.’ To my understanding & reasoning for identification with the term, ‘agender’ refers to an individual that finds they do not have a particular gender identity. Despite this—alignment or intrigue or fascination—I wonder, how does this term work? What role does the term play within a community whose foundations rest upon the celebration of ‘non-normative’ gender identities? ..Maybe I just answered my own questions. 

I was in the 3rd grade attempting to sell Girl Scout cookies outside the entrance of the village Cost-U-Less. The smaller version of me, dawning an unmarked Thin Mint cookie outfit (yes, a brown disc with shoulder straps), lacked the enthusiasm necessary to ‘sell’ things. I believe I was a ‘Girl’ Scout for less than a year. This extracurricular activity effort ended, primarily, due to my mother’s own lack of enthusiasm for driving me to 60-minute late-evening parent-meetings in the middle of the school-work week. Nowadays, when the season arrives, I just buy a box.

To read: Meaningful LGBTQ Inclusion in Schools: The Importance of Diversity Representation and Counterspaces by Alison Cerezo & Jeannette Bergfeld on

To listen: Neoncity Records on Bandcamp

To watch: Superliminal Full Gameplay Walkthrough (No Commentary) by Punish on Youtube

To learn: The Science of Well-Being by Laurie Santos for Coursera

*NOTE: A week feels like a month in quarantine, doesn’t it? Newsletters are now being sent twice a week (or maybe even more). Send in your ideas anytime.

This newsletter was curated by Michelle Devlin. Contact MD using or on Instagram @mderpth.

If you’d like to create a letter, send an email of interest to, or @wenevernever.