Illuminating art, design and health

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Reblogged from CHRIS FREMANTLE:

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Two interesting trajectories across the need for light particularly in winter.  The one is a blog from the Wellcome Trust on research being undertaken by their Research Fellow, Dr Tania Woloshyn, on the history of phototherapy, and the other is an exhibition at Marres House for Contemporary Culture in the Netherlands entitled Winter Anti Depression where they have created an Art Resort, a sensory environment in response to the winter.The idea that the lack of sunlight affects those of us living in northern climates is not new, and research into the history of treatments highlights the complexity of the amount of sunlight that is healthy.

The exhibition demonstrates a number of art and design approaches to activating the senses.  Different works explore different senses from textured surfaces that you feel through your feet, to sounds to cocoon you in your bed, to light and colour.  The installation comprising a range of yellows is particularly evocative (see below).

Light and colour are increasingly significant in the design of healthcare contexts.  New technologies such as ‘Sky Ceilings’ and lightboxes can bring a feeling of daylight into rooms that lack windows.  The ‘temperature’ of light, especially with the increasing availability of LED bulbs, is enabling much more sophisticated design of environments.  But what is clear is that light and colour are not ‘universals’.  On the one hand their meaning is culturally informed, and as these examples highlight, also informed by seasonality.  We might want healthcare to be 24/7, but our bodies respond to seasonality just as they do to day and night.


ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge Research, Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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