This film is certainly quirky: it’s about how the renowned German philosopher/poet, Goethe actually spent most of his life studying colors and how he thought these affect us. Using Goethe’s ‘Theory of Colors’ (Zur Farbenlehre) as a point of departure, this film, ‘Light Darkness and Colors’ takes us on a fascinating journey through the universe of colors.
In 1704, Sir Isaac Newton published “Light and Refraction”, his study of the interactions between sunlight and prisms. Newton was, as a good scientist, intent on achieving objectivity, which meant studying sunlight in isolation. He thought colors were contained solely in light, and found the spectrum he was looking for.
But when Goethe reproduced this experiment, he found another, hidden set of colors missed by Newton. Goethe found the hidden colors in the boundaries between light and darkness. He felt, as an artist, that one could not talk about light without including darkness. Calling it ‘the light-darkness polarity’, Goethe made this new scientific discovery using artistic methods in conjunction with science.
The film shows the different spectra viewed and described by two of the most celebrated thinkers of modern Western history and it opens one’s own eyes to the colors we overlook, every day.