Reading Summary 5: Color Walking

The purpose of this short article was to teach us about color walks and to tell us about the authors’ own experience with color walks. Color walks were created by William Burroughs. “Back in the day, William Burroughs dreamed up a tool to inspire his students: color walks.” The authors of this article came across the experiment while working on the colors show and decided to give the experiment a try and write about their experience. In their trial of the color walk the chose to be flexible and switch from color to color. The authors stated, “We first ran across color walks in this blog post from Sal Randolph, which features two great quotes from Burroughs: “Color: William Burroughs Walking on Color”.

The instructions on how to do a color walk are simple. To perform a color walk, “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.” In this article, the color walk started at WYNC, in lower Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon. The first color they started out with was blue. Blues led to pinks which led to violets. Their color walk took approximately 14 minutes. At the end of their walk the described the walk saying, “…the colors hung in our brains and eyes.” They also stated, “We walked away seeing a world brimming over with colors: the rusty orange of a rooftop water tower in the sun, a bright blue mohawk, and the humble yellowy greens of a new leaf all jumped into our eyes.” The authors provided a short timeline of their color walk, which included pictures, using Timeline JS.

At the end of the article, the authors offered their own advice for others interested in trying the color walk experiment. They provided three pieces of advice. The first, “Give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time, no commutes, no errands, just eye time.”  Their second piece of advice stated, “Pick a color, or let a color pick you–follow the one that makes your heart go thump-thump.” The final piece of advice that the authors gave stated, “If you get lost, pick another color. If you get really lost, you’re on the right track.”

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