How do our eyes work? How do we see colour and what is it? Do our brains interpret colours the same way? The Natural History Museum's latest exhibition for summer 2016 has arrived to answer those questions, using interactive elements to capture the hearts and interests of audiences big and small. We are smitten.
Taking visitors from the darkened spaces of the dull and dingy world of animals without the power of sight, round to lighter spaces full of colour, this extremely sensory exhibition invites the visitor to travel the 500-million-year journey through the eyes of nature, and discover how vision and colour evolved together.
Before the journey begins, visitors enter a completely white room that gets them to explore their relationship with, and responses to, colour. Entitled Our Spectral Vision, this piece is made up of all the colours we, as humans, can see.
In a complete contrast, the proceeding room is awash with darkness. We are transported back 565 million years ago, to when organisms had not yet formed the ability to see and, therefore, life was drab and colour-less.
Guests explore the development of vision and discover how animals progressed to a point where colour was integral in their lives, eventually becoming a part of predation, mating and self protection.
From here, families step into a room full of different coloured animals from bright orange butterflies to a pastel pink bird, which proves just how species use colours to their advantage. Not only to protect themselves from other, bigger predators, but for mating purposes too. Whichever gender is more brightly coloured determines which initiates the mating process.
Finally, we emerge into the experience of the human. An interactive exhibition asks guests to decide which colours they associate with a number of different - powerful - words such as 'danger' and 'fertility' written across a wall, placing coloured cards next to a word they associate with it.
The exhibition is rounded up with an insightful video, narrated by a series of artists who use colour in various ways. Liz West - the designer of the initial art installation - speaks of her relationship with various colours and how they make her feel. Neil Harrison - a cyborg artist - contrasts this by explaining how his colour blindness allows him to still view the world as a beautiful place, but in different shades. He has begun 'hearing' colour thanks to modern technology, and believes this may be a way in which we all view the world in the future.
A combination of interesting figures, in-depth narration and eye-opening facts ensure this is an informative exhibition for adults. Best of all, perhaps, are the interactive sections that get great responses from children engaged in learning. Unfortunately, the more complicated science is likely to go over the heads of little ones, but that doesn’t detract from the over-all experience.
This is a must-see summer exhibition for all the family.
Suitable for ages 5+
|What||Colour and Vision review|
|Where||Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road , SW7 5BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
15 Jul 16 – 06 Nov 16, 10:00 AM – 5:15 PM
|Price||£10.80 for adults|
|Website||Click here to book|