The Name


A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue : vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!

(As translated by Oliver Bernard: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems [1962])


When the word fades out as a sound, it turns into image.

Each letter acts as an energy case and Ultrablu is a word that stands for itself having the same two letters at the beginning and at the end, mirroring each other. This results in a balance as if it was a little boat on the sea. The color ultramarine blue, stems from Latin ultramarinus, meaning literally "beyond the sea", since the pigment was imported to Europe from beyond the sea. Therefore, the ancient word "ultra" becomes "beyond", in its widest meaning referring to going beyond a spatial, temporal or ideal limit. In order to become meaningful it has to make reference to a pre-existing condition. Hence "beyond" means conveying the constant memory of trying to go beyond any achieved target, always moving beyond any explored place. In this sense, the Ultrablu small boat has no anchors, only rows, since the aim of this voyage is voyaging in itself, rejecting safe dockings and easy definitions to be temporarily safe. The boat voyages along the horizon line where the blue of the sea whitens to merge with the sky, halfway, in a perfect balance, between the blue of the depths and the blue of the heights, in a continuous rocking that becomes the true essence of its existence. The boat, by its nature, wants to be a boat, therefore no anchorage, but only the open  sea where it is possible to unfurl the sails in the wind.

In Voyelles, by means of symbolic analogies, Rimbaud evokes the intimate corréspondances among things, as Baudelaire would put it, that thin web linking all things. That is way the image of the boat immediately evokes the idea of crossing the river to reach the opposite bank and, due to a latent and immanent link between the shell of the boat and the deep waters, it suggests connotations even farther away in time, like the idea of protecting from the chaos underneath - such a primordial need that in the past houses were built in the shape of boats. [6] According to the poet John Keats, the chaos we are living in aims at creating a soul, a way of saying taken from Hillman to refer to a research work and to listening to one's own imaginal world, cultivating one's soul and implementing its potentialities; to let a seed of the oak tree become an oak, that is to let it meet its own objective. In the end Ultrablu wants to be a commitment to create the best conditions possible, beyond the limits, to sail freely.

Jasmina Mulalic


[1] J.HILLMAN, Fuochi blu, a cura di Thomas Moore, Adelphi, Milano, 2016, p. 60.

[2] J.VIDAL, Alla scoperta del simbolo, in Mircea Eliade e Ioan P. Couliano (a cura di), Dizionario dei simboli,  Jaca Book, Milano, 2017.

[3] Ibidem, p. 11.

[4] GOETHE, J. W., La teoria dei colori, il Saggiatore, Milano, 2008.

[5] JUNG, C. G., Ricordi, sogni, riflessioni, a cura di A. Jaffè, Bur Rizzoli, Milano, 2013, p. 352.

[6] AA. VV., Il libro dei simboli. Riflessioni sulle immagini archetipiche, Taschen, 2011.

Hillmann believed that blue is simply the colour of imagination that removes ordinary things from their ordinary sense, taking them back to the basis of the imagination. Here the alchemy begins: “in the blue vault, in the sea, in the mind that thinks by images, that imagines in an ideative way [...] with words that at the same time are images and ideas, with words transforming things in flashing ideas, [...] blue power of the word. "[1] As Gaston Bachelor observed, we can look at the sun as an object and soon forget about it, but if we start looking at it and perceiving it as an image we could accept to go beyond, since an object is a fixed entity whereas an image expands and contracts, referring to other things. [2] However, “beyond” is not a place, it is rather a category of the horizon, as Vidal puts it: "The horizon is always beyond [...]. I contain it, yet it is always beyond. It will not stop receding as I try to get closer. Consequently, the content of the symbol is always beyond”[3]. Even Goethe contributed to the thousand-year-old history of colour simbology writing that a blue surface appears to get away from us dragging us along [4]. Colours are among the most abstract things and blue is the least earthy one, the rarest one in nature. The sky is not blue, the sea is not blue, it is a colour existing in our minds, made up of distance and depth, we contain it like the horizon, from a distant intimacy, using Rilke's words. In 1944, in his autobiography, Jung described the colour blue "It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the Earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents … its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light” [5]. Years later Jung's visionary intuition was confirmed by Jurij Gagarin, who, observing the Earth from Space, exclaimed "the Earth is blue".