Katrin Trautwein is the founder of kt.COLOR, a Swiss manufacturer of handcrafted paint colors sourced from around the world. She is also the author of 128 Colors and Black. Before participating in the Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” event “What Does Blackness Mean?”, she talked about the one sandwich in Switzerland that’s worth eating, the smells of a sailing trip from Sweden to Majorca, and the difference between Swiss German and plain old normal German.
What is your favorite color?
Today I’ll say black.
Do you have a favorite kind of sandwich?
Well, Switzerland isn’t a sandwich culture. They make one with pretzels with salami and pickles and butter. That’s a good sandwich.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your favorite German word?
Swiss German is a little bit different. So: küchenchasten. It means “the kitchen cupboard.” It’s the word we use in Switzerland to tell who can speak Swiss German and who speaks plain old normal German.
What was your best vacation?
We spent half a year on our sailboat. We sailed from Sweden to Majorca. That was fantastic. We were moving slow, smelling and seeing places in a rhythm we don’t ordinarily experience.
What’s your hidden talent?
I think it’s combining knowledge from completely disparate areas. I’m a professional dilettante. I know a little about a lot of things—I can bridge chemistry, art, color science, philosophy, ontology, architecture.
What are you reading right now?
I read six or so books at once. Right now: Robert Frost poetry, a book about how the shadow has vanished out of life by an author whose name I’ve forgotten, The Fragility of Things by William Connolly, and a book by Levi Bryant on speculative realism.
What kind of car do you drive?
I don’t have a car. I had an Audi, and I ran it without oil and stopped driving it and didn’t replace it.
What do you wake up to?