Sanne De Wilde
The Island of the Colorblind
01.12.2018 – 18.01.2019
In the late eighteenth century a catastrophic typhoon swept over Pingelap, a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean. One of the sole survivors, the king, carried the rare achromatopsia-gen that causes complete colorblindness. The king went on to have many children and as time passed by, the hereditary condition affected the isolated community and most islanders started seeing the world in black and white.
Achromatopsia is characterized by extreme light sensitivity, poor vision, and complete inability to distinguish colors. Achromats in Federated States of Micronesia adapt to their reduced level of visual functioning (due lack of recourses like sunglasses and tinted lenses) by using visual strategies such as blinking, squinting, shielding their eyes, or positioning themselves in relation to light sources.
Initiating her visual research in FSM the De Wilde tried to find ways to envision how people with achromatopsia see the world. She tried to see the island through their eyes. Daylight is too bright to bear, moonlight turns night into day, colors dance around in shades we cannot imagine. Imagine flames lighting up in black and white, trees turning pink, waves of grey. A rainbow revisited.
In cooperation with Lichtblick Galerie, Cologne