Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan ran across an experiment while working on the Colors show, and they decided to try it out. Back in the day, William Burroughs dreamed up a tool to inspire his students: color walks. You just walk out your door, pick a color that catches your eye, and watch your surroundings pop as you follow the color from object to object.
While you walk, you will be struck by the red of a bicyclist’s shorts, the sun burn on a woman’s shoulders, the pealing paint on the fire hydrant. They decided to give it whirl, and allow ourselves the flexibility to switch from color to color: a woman’s lavender handbag might draw us to the right; a yellow cab could pull us down a side street; a green pistachio ice cream cone could shove us into the park. They started the walk at WNYC, in lower Manhattan, Sunday afternoon. At the end of the afternoon, the colors from the cab and the park hung in their brains and eyes.
They walked away seeing a world brimming over with colors: the rusty orange of a roof top water tower in the sun, a bright blue mohawk, and the humble yellow greens of a new leaf all jumped into our eyes.
If you would like to try a color walk yourself, here is their advice: Give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time, no commutes, no errands, just eye time.
“Pick a color, or let a color pick you follow the one that makes your heart go thump thump.”
“If you get really lost, you’re on the right track.”
McMullan, Phia Bennin / Brendan. “Color Walking.” Radiolab. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://www.radiolab.org/story/214709-color-walk/?utm_source=sharedUrl&utm_medium=metatag&utm_campaign=sharedUrl.