The Impossible Garden: An Optics and Color Experience

The Impossible Garden: An Optics and Color Experience

What is it like to see with an artist’s eye, yet unable to see the color in your work as most of the world sees it? At EnChroma, we hear from so many color blind creative people who yearn to see all the color in their artwork; or to understand the perspectives of normal sighted people when they experience their work; or who simply want to discover what they’ve been missing.

Prominent artists who are color blind, like Luke Jerram, Daniel Arsham and children’s book illustrator Loren Long, can relate. Though color blind, they have achieved high acclaim for their innovative and colorful artworks, yet felt an irresistible urge to finally see the colors in their art through EnChroma glasses.

Jerram’s exhibition, The Impossible Garden, an art installation created in collaboration with vision experts at the Bristol Vision Institute (BVI) and University of Bristol Botanic Garden in the UK, featured twelve experimental sculptural artworks inspired by optical phenomena. Jerram reached out to EnChroma to make our color blind glasses available to visitors of The Impossible Garden art installation, especially color blind guests, to unlock elements they would have otherwise missed.

A long green hedge installation on which was painted the question, “Is This Red?” in thick red letters is nearly imperceptible to people with red-green color blindness because the red and green blend together. By wearing EnChroma glasses, color blind visitors were astonished at their newfound ability to pick out the cleverly “hidden” question. Watch this reaction from a visitor who interacted with this art piece.

“It was great to be able to present The Impossible Garden art installation with the support of EnChroma. As I'm red green colorblind, the glasses have given me an opportunity to see the world in a completely new way. It felt like for the first time I could appreciate the landscape as it changes throughout the seasons. I had no idea trees came in so many varieties of green!!”

Luke Jerram, artist


Like the support we provided to Jerram, EnChroma is driven to make public venues more accessible to the estimated 300 million people in the world who are color blind. We currently have accessibility collaborations underway with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Chabot Space & Science Center. In addition, our glasses were selected by the Cooper Hewitt museum to appear in an exhibit at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in late January.

EnChroma continues to actively work with numerous museums, libraries, state parks and other public venues to help make their attractions and collections accessible to the color blind.


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