Schopenhauer and Goethe argued that colors are dangerous: When philosophers speak of colors, they often begin to rant and rave. This essay addresses the confusing and treacherous history of color theory and perception. An overview of philosophers and scientists associated with developing theories leads into a discussion of contemporary perspectives: Taussig’s notion of a “combustible mixture” and “total bodily activity” and Massumi’s idea of an “ingressive activity” are used as turning points in a discussion of Roger Hiorns’s Seizure—an excruciatingly intoxicating installation.

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