The North-South project is an event celebrating local colours and light conditions in Finland, Portugal and Holland.It aims to bring together 3 different communities each living in an environment determined by sky, water and land.

Abstract: There are many colours present in our surroundings which we do not consciously register due to the nature of our colour perception, yet they are an important part of our cultural identity. In the media, colours of landscapes are often exaggerated and limited for the purpose of tourism.

The proposed experiment aims to increase local colour awareness by inviting communities from Portugal, Finland and Holland to communicate about their cultural identity through means of local colours and their connotations.

By involving students from three universities based in these countries to cooperate and contribute to the experiment their expertise in marketing, tourism and design, local communities could benefit from a better understanding of each others culture and nature. Simultaneously it could bolster one’s own identity through greater cultural awareness by reclaiming local colours.

Landscapes can usually only be viewed from the outside. As soon as it is seen from the inside people stop seeing a ‘landscape’ and start seeing the ‘place’ they live in. The tourist phase has come to an end when a landscape has turned into a place.Tourists in the widest sense typically form the viewers of landscapes. One can leave his or her ‘place’ and visit a hitherto unknown part even of one’s own country and see a ‘landscape’.

However, this proposal focuses on the experience of viewing landscapes on the extremities of Europe. For this experiment Portugal and Finland were chosen because climate and cultural differences are expected to have a strong impact on what can be seen and the way it is seen by the countries’ respective visitors.

A landscape or place is made up of natural and cultural elements. All features within these elements have a colour. These colours often are historically typical for local architecture. Additionally each place’s soil, sea, rivers,etc have their natural colours equally determined by local light conditions. Indeed, the angle of the sun and the available moisture in the air e.g. have a great influence on the quality of all local colours. (Pieter Rim de Kroon 2004)

Every visual stimulus processed by the human perceptual system contains colour information. Colour typically exerts its influence on psychological functioning in an automatic fashion; the full process from evaluation of the colour stimulus to activation and operation of motivated behaviour typically takes place without conscious intention or awareness. Furthermore, although it is believed that some colour effects are biologically based and pancultural, it is likely that at least some colour meanings and effects are entirely learned and can vary by culture. (Andrew J.Elliot and Markus A. Maier 2007)

Colour has throughout time served as a potent source of symbolism in all cultures. (Ian Paterson 2004)

Viewing a ‘landscape’ therefore also contains colour information perceived in an automatic fashion.

The marketing and advertising industry makes good use of this phenomenon.

Here colour is used to grab our attention and to stimulate us by reference to the many psychological and physiological responses to colour, as well as the appeal which colour provides for our emotions. We all instinctively appreciate the dimension which colour can bring to product packaging and which it is difficult to create by any other means. (Ian Paterson 2004) The marketing of a country heavily depends on colour. One only has to think of tourist brochures of Lisbon or Helsinki to get an idea of the importance of this almost subliminal message of colour.

The aims of the proposed event include:

– raising awareness of our own environment and that of the other through being immersed in their related colour and light conditions.

– stimulating a new insight into how we relate to our own and the other culture.

– creating an increased sense of community both locally and on a European level.