The Vitamins of Colour - How colour influences our state of mind
In October 2002, an experimental exhibition ‘The Vitamins
of Colour’ took place in ‘Det Ny Illum’ a well-known department
store in the centre of Copenhagen. The exhibition was organised by Template
Stiftelsen in Denmark and took place over ten full days, attracting more than
The idea for the ‘The Vitamins of Colour’ exhibition
came from the understanding that colours and light are nurturing vitamins which
affect the functioning of the human body and the way we think. Most importantly
colour influences our state of mind. The exhibition focused on the ability colour
has to influence personal energy levels, balances and thought processe, through
using specific proven technologies. It also stimulated new ways in how to think,
for example in selecting colours worn or used to decorate different rooms at
home or in the office.
In this article Mark Stolk invites us to have a look into the
wonderful and magical world of colour, inspired by The Vitamins of Colour exhibition
2002 in Copenhagen.
We have all seen the beautiful panorama of a rainbow when the sun’s rays
break through the clouds on a rainy day. We might also have performed an experiment
using a prism, holding it up to the sun and watching as the sunlight breaks
into the same spectrum of colours. Isaac Newton first demonstrated this in scientific
experiments in the 1600’s, and he also showed that re-combining these
colours of the spectrum created white light again. Although he recognised that
the spectrum was continuous, Newton used the seven colour names red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet for segments of the spectrum in parallel
with the seven notes of the musical scale.
The spectrum is only a small part of the whole band of electro-magnetic radiation.
One could say that the colours of the spectrum are the first visible expression
of unseen energy for us. Newton recognised this when he said, “rays themselves
are not coloured. Within them is nothing but a certain power...to stir up the
sensation of this or that colour”. It could therefore be said that colour
is a “cloak” of force - a visible and more materialised embodiment
of “power”. Scientists use such names as wavelengths and frequencies
when they talk about the force inside colour.
The human eye can see and discern approximately seven million colours! When
we look at a certain colour, we can attract to ourselves the energy that is
on the same frequency as the particular colour. Colour and light are impressions
upon which we feed. The question is, what do the forces or energies associated
with that colour cause in us, what do they activate or sedate, stimulate or
anaesthetise? Does colour have an influence on us and, if so, on which part
and in what way? And how can colour influence our thoughts, feelings or actions?
The colour red increases strength
Various documented researches have shown that certain colours stimulate certain
organs and bodily functions as well as influencing states of mind. A red coloured
room causes our body temperature to rise, whilst a blue room does the opposite.
The colour red increases strength in the muscular structure, whilst pink does
the opposite. Over the last few decades many scientists have reported the successful
use of coloured light in the treatment of a wide variety of psychological problems
and diseases. Blue light, as an example, has been used in the treatment of psychological
problems, including addictions, eating disorders and depression.
The Spectrum Tents
Because the colours we see are combinations and derivations of the seven spectrum
colours, it seems logical to try to understand the nature, function and influence
of these seven colours first. For this reason we designed seven, five metre
high, ‘spectrum’ tents for the exhibition, each one lit up from
within by a coloured beam in one of the seven spectrum colours.
In daily life we are mostly exposed to the influence of a multiple spread of
light and colour that make any observational effects of a single colour difficult
to detect or identify. The exhibition tents were built to separate out these
colours to give a person the opportunity to see and register the difference
with each colour and its particular qualities.
The indigo tent, as an example, caused more than eighty per cent of people
to feel inward and slower. The red tent caused many people to feel calm and
settled. This may seem to contradict the nature of red, which tends to cause
people to feel more physically active and strong. However, colour is a vitamin
and so can improve certain deficiencies we may have in our system, and so restoring
balance and causing settlement. This is especially true of red, the energy of
which can become depleted due to the pace and stress of our world.
The tents were a live experiment both at a personal level to discover a particular
proneness at any given time, but also to further the research into how colour
affects our lives.
We are people of colour
In one part of the exhibition there was the opportunity for people to have
an arm test, using an arm testing method practiced in The Template Foundation
and inspired by the science of kinesiology to detect energy and colour balances.
This method involves people holding a card with one of the spectrum colours
in their hand, whilst an arm tester measures their strength and resistance to
each colour. The degree of resistance gives the tester an indication of what
kind of colour the participant needs in order to come to his or her natural
state of energy balance, and the person was accordingly invited to sit in one
of the coloured spectrum tents. This method, whilst simple, proved to be very
effective and helped people understand themselves better through their specific
Blue and green water is soft and gentle
It is acknowledged by many that colour is not only experienced by us through
our sight, and that we can register and feel colour with other senses. Experiments
performed in the 1960’s in Russia proved that one out of six people can
feel colour with their fingertips after some simple training. They believed
that this percentage would be much higher with more training and especially
if people could be brought more back in touch with their natural self.
The sensations people register in trying to feel colours vary - there may be
tingles in the hands or slight temperature changes. Many people also record
specific feelings, mental imagery or particular states of mind when they expose
themselves to certain colours. It suggests that we can translate the forces
locked up in colour through other senses than just that of sight, and it is
perhaps no wonder that some musicians experience certain pieces of music in
All this made us wonder whether we can also taste the influence of colour?
In order to experiment with this we set up seven transparent tanks filled with
spring water, each one exposed to light in one of the spectrum colours. Many
people were astonished to find that they could taste a difference in water lit
up by different spectrum colours! Many experienced ‘red’ water as
harsh, with a slight iron taste, ‘yellow’ water as more sweet, and
‘blue’ and ‘green’ water as softer and gentler to the
taste. Although many people could taste a difference in the ‘orange, indigo
and violet’ water, most of them had difficulty describing the taste.
The D.A.M.P. room
If certain human thoughts, feelings or actions cause certain colour radiations
or combinations of colour, can it then be that certain specific colours or colour
combinations cause specific thoughts, feelings and actions?
One part of the exhibition was called the ‘D.A.M.P.’ room. This
room was painted in specific combinations of colours to strengthen the learning
process in children with hyperactivity or a deficiency in attention span, motor
control and perception. The specific colour combinations cause a calming, sharpen
the attention and give clarity in thinking, as well as causing a more open receptive
state of mind. This specific colour combination, designed by Marianne T. Nielsen
from the “Template Stiftelsen” in co-operation with The Plasma Group
from Israel, is now used in some classrooms for a special school for D.A.M.P.
children in Copenhagen.
The Vitamins of Colour exhibition passed on in an experiential way some of
the groundbreaking discoveries and researches made by Template Stiftelsen and
different international Teams around the world. Perhaps it also conveyed a feeling
many have - that we are entering a time when colour will be more acceptable
as a tool to better health and well-being, and when it will also be applied
as an indicator of how we can live a more progressive and natural lifestyle.
And it might be that as we come to deeper understandings about colour, we discover
more about ourselves and what shapes and influences us!