Thursday, 30 August 2012

Creating Rainbows

"The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones the rainbow does not exist. So you don't just look at a rainbow, you create it."
Now this idea really struck me. When I was a little girl I was fascinated by the idea that we have no real way of knowing if we see the same world around us as other people do, especially in the case of colours. As long as our personal colour scheme is consistent we are fine. You say it's 'Pink' and as long as I am seeing the same thing as all the other instances of hearing something named as 'pink' you could be seeing one thing and I could be seeing another altogether.

This line of thinking arose because there was an old lady who used to help take care of me. She loved Red and hated Blue. I loved Blue and hated Red. I believed deep down that the only explanation must be that the thing she saw as Red must really be Blue if you catch my drift.

I no longer have a favourite colour. I love them all. I may be slightly synaesthetic because the experience of colours is more than visual for me, there are all sorts of other sensations, often to do with the taste of drinks in particular but also to do with quite specific sensations. My most special and valued experiences are very very multicoloured but not just any mix - it has to work. It sure isn't any old color-mess that gets me going. This painting by acclaimed Ugandan artist Eria Sane Nsubuga really got me there today: