Justin E. H. Smith at Cabinet:
All that you touch / All that you see. The English graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, speaking of his career’s most iconic album cover, told the BBC in 2009: “Refracting light through a prism is a common feature in nature, as in a rainbow. I would like to claim it, but unfortunately it’s not mine!” In its title and in the color prism now eternally associated with it, The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd’s 1973 magnum opus, elides the distinction between two very distinct chapters in the history of science. One is Isaac Newton’s discovery, spelled out in the 1704 Opticks, that the prism does not so much produce color from light as it separates out the colors that are already in light. If refraction is a common occurrence in nature, nonetheless for 269 years, until Thorgerson’s appropriation of it, the image of the prism belonged to the Newtonian legacy. The other chapter, the history of that side of the earth’s sole natural satellite that, as a result of so-called “tidal locking,” remains in its orbit perpetually occluded from terrestrial view, is rather more difficult to trace back through all of its pre-Floydian instances.