Daily Practice for Seven Days
For this I decided to radiate myself with different colors of light every day for five minutes with two different kinds of light, or at least two different colors. The non-changing factor would be that I will be listening to Psychologically Ultimate Seashore with earbuds on my phone. I will also be sitting in a normal fashion and fully clothed except for my face and hands/arms exposed.
Gels on lamp
I did this first experiment in my studio with a 200W bulb and two gels from the Dinshah gel set. According to Dinshah’s system a few of them are meant to be layered in specific combinations to produce certain wavelengths. For this however I decided to play with randomness based on feedback I got during our brainstorming, so I wouldn’t start by being biased towards feeling one way or another and experiment purely with color and different light sources without having a specific healing purpose or bias as a jumping off point.
I blindfolded myself and shuffled through the gels like a deck of cards, choosing one at random. I then put it in the gel holder in front of the light source and sat facing it for five minutes. Before starting each of two random colors I logged my mood and energy level, on a Y axis of calm <—> nervous and an X axis of tired <—> awake.
The first color I chose at random was one of the two yellow gels, this one more orange-y yellow. From behind my blindfold I could have sworn it was green for some reason. It felt warm (the light was also literally warm) and energizing/comforting.
I was surprised to see it was yellowish-orange, but not totally surprised because of the warmth it exuded, but I still wasn’t sure if the warmth was just from the light itself.
The second color I chose at random felt different. I almost felt uneasy at first. It was not as warm feeling. I saw blue rectangles dancing behind my eyes, then assumed it was probably a blue gel. It was. My mood and energy level did not change from after the first trial to after the second.
Day 2) 10/25/2018
Video color meditations
For the second day I decided to use some color meditations I created over the summer based on the Dinshah color system. I resumed listening to the ocean recording with earbuds. I decided to go with yellow to indigo, to mimic the transition from yesterday.
This time I kept my eyes open. I didn’t see a way to pick at random or a need to anymore. I decided I would rather experiment with different light sources vs one light source, at least for now, to try to get a feel for the differences between them.
The first color, yellow, felt similar to yesterday — not the literal warmth though because it was from my computer screen. I found that my mood changed to be calmer and my energy level went up after five minutes of partially looking at it and partially closing my eyes.
The second color, indigo, also seemed to feel similar to yesterday’s session with the blue gel — I almost felt uneasy at first, it was not totally draining just more cold. . At the end of the second trial I felt about the same as after the first.
Day 3) 10/26/2018
For this trial I decided to use two lamps/light sources that I often have as light sources in my home. One was a table lamp with one 53W Incandescent bulb in it, and the other a 90W yellow LED flood light which is more of a mood light.
The first bulb I used was the incandescent bulb filtered through a lampshade. At first it created a red sunlight-like glow behind my eyes, and then it became a bright white. I felt twitchy while sitting in front of it and just wanted it to be over. Afterwards I felt slightly more tired and nervous than before (when I was calm/awake.)
For the second part I used the LED bulb. It was much brighter than the first, almost like sunlight. I mostly closed my eyes. I didn’t mind it. After it was over I felt much more calm and more awake than before I started.
Day 4) 10/27/2018
MindPlace light glasses
First I chose a program at random (#2). I closed my eyes as instructed and saw red and blue lights flickering which over time created a bordering on-analog-VR-like experience. It was almost claustrophobia-inducing, but I was also feeling energized by it.
After five minutes were done I felt more awake than I did before I began, but also more nervous than I did when I began.
For the second round I chose program #21. This one had more green and yellow lights, felt more open and less claustrophobia inducing. It felt more like being washed with rather than bombarded by stimuli. After five minutes were over I felt only slightly more calm, and much more awake.
Day 5) 10/28/2018
Laptop screen VS Laptop screen w/Orange glasses
After a day of staring at the screen doing coding homework, I decided to for today’s experiment to test pure laptop light VS laptop light as seen through UV blue light blocking computer glasses.
For the first five minutes I stared directly at a white screen (with the f.lux app on) I did not enjoy looking at it, and I closed my eyes for part of it to avoid staring at it directly. After the trial was over I felt more tired and more nervous than I had before I began.
For the second five minutes I stared at the same blank screen while wearing the UV blocking computer glasses. I enjoyed looking at the orange light and kept my eyes open the whole time. Afterwards I felt more awake and calm than I did before I started.
Day 6) 10/29/2018
Verilux Happylight VS NYC Subway lighting
For the sixth experiment I decided to compare two lights which are similar in that they are artificial but different in their purpose and in the intention for their use. The HappyLight on the one hand is meant to charge and focus the users’ energy; it is marketed as an “energy lamp.” On the other hand, the subway light seems to be purely practical in its intention and usage. I’ve always suspected these bare fluorescent bulbs were harmful to our health.
For the first five minutes in front of the HappyLight, I felt comfortable — I looked at it partially and closed my eyes partially. I liked it. I felt the light in my core, somewhere in the chest area. Afterwards, I felt more calm and more awake than I did before I started.
After five minutes under the subway lighting, I felt dull. I didn’t enjoy it. Given, I was waiting for the train. When five minutes were up, I felt around as calm as before, and more tired.
Day 7) 10/30/2018
Last day: Daylight.
Today I just did one trial, with natural sunlight. It seemed like a natural place to end up. I realize there were also other factors at play, but this one was by far the most effective of them all. I felt the most literal warmth, and a warm, orange-yellow light.
This obviously is more light and heat than any one lamp could produce. There were also the other sensory factors like breeze and temperature and ambient sounds. After five minutes I felt much more calm and slightly more awake than before.
During our discussion today in class after I did this last sitting, I was helped to realize that all my trials up until today were done inside. Natural daylight so far was by far the most successful of all of my “trials” so far. We also talked about the need for S.A.D. lamps in the winter when it is more difficult to have time outside in the sun.
This led me to think focusing on some speculative sculpture or public art piece that is proposed to be done in the winter could be fitting for this, when it is harder to be outside in daylight. Also in places where it is not possible to actually go outside very often, what could be done to improve the lighting in those situations for overall health.
My research consultation with Margaret at the library pointed me to many clinical trials on PubMED about the specific effects of blue light on humans.
Working with yellow/orange light as a counterpoint to blue light would be something interesting I think for me to work with design wise from a scientific/psychological standpoint.