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The Island of the Colorblind

Catch a glimpse of a world where flames light a up in black and white, trees have turned pink and a rainbow holds a thousand shades of grey.

What does color mean to those who can’t see it? Long ago, a catastrophic typhoon swept over Pingelap, a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean. One of the few survivors carried a rare gene that causes achromatopsia, a condition characterized by extreme light sensitivity, poor vision and the inability to distinguish colors. After the hereditary condition had spread among the isolated population of Pingelap for a few generations, the islanders ended up perceiving their world in black and white. Photographer Sanne de Wilde stumbled upon the community and has been exploring achromatopsia and the island ever since. How do the islanders see the trees, the ocean and themselves? How could we see the world through their eyes? The interactive installation Island of the Colorblind invites the audience to explore a shift in perception, for example through De Wilde’s surreal photographs in which flames light up in black and white, trees have turned pink and a rainbow holds a thousand shades of grey.

Project details

Year of development :2016
Created by:Sanne De Wilde
With:Katharina Smets, Duncan Speakman

Available formats

Official website

www.sannedewilde.com