Kit 11


Depending on the configuration of your computer use of sounds can occur in 2 ways: automatically or by download and listen the sound with the mp3 player on your computer.


Lidia Beduschi, About the book "11", and how to use it (scented colors, touch-readable symbols, and sounds)

It is now the time to tell you how to use your kit, which comprises the book, that you surely have aldready touched and leafed through, "History of 11", that you will find here on the website, and the "Games", at the end of the colors' tale.

The book is made of 11 cardboard sheets, one for each color (black, white, red, green, blue, brown, gray, pink, purple, orange), separated by lighter leaves, plus 11 more cardboard sheets (always black, white, red, green, blue, brown, gray, pink, purple, orange) pre-cut in rectangular pieces that you can cut to play the Games. The 22 sheets are ring-bound. In the bottom center section of each colored sheet, you will find the symbol in touch-readable dots. The cardboard sheets are scented, as you will have already found out: to smell each color's scent, just rub the sheet with your fingers, applying a gentle pressure. The pressure will break the micro-capsules, releasing a long-lasting water-based essence. Further on, you can read a description of the essence's chemical composition.

Why 11 colors? And why just these 11 colors?

We did not choose them randomly. You must know that these are the colors known to the majority of the world's population, as shown in the research of two American anthropologists, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay. The two researchers wrote down their results in an important essay, Basic Color Terms, published in Berkley, by University of California Press, in 1969.

Why do colors come in this order?

This is not a random order! The group of the 11 colors can be divided into six stages of growing complexity. The first stage comprises two colors: black and white. It is the simplest and oldest stage. The second stage comprises red. The third comprises two colors: green and yellow. The fourth comprises blue. The fifth, brown. The sixth comprises four colors: gray, pink, purple, orange.

Most peoples and culture went through all these stages. Ancient Greek, the language of Homer's Ilias and Odissey, is, according to our two anthropologists, in the third stage, and knows the colors leukòs (white), glaukòs (black), eruthròs (red), and khloròs (meaning both "yellow" and "green").

It is very important to underscore that when a culture goes from a stage to the next, the change always goes in the direction we described. For instance, if, and when, a culture goes from a two-stage, three-color system (black and white; red) to a five-stage, seven-color system, this culture will necessarily have, in succession: black and white; red; green and yellow; then blue, and at last brown.

Is this the case with all peoples and cultures?

Not with all of them, but in most cases, as we said before. This is the case even with Ancient Greeks, who used, as we just saw, the same word khloròs for both green and yellow. And it is the case with contemporary Japan, where, until recently, there was just one word, aoi, for blue and green. Nowadays, young Japanese will use the word midori to say green, but the "bluegreen" of a traffic-light is still called aoi.

And now, let's proceed with the explanation of the codes (remember, a code is an "alphabet" of sorts!) matching:


Smells and colors

Here you will find the combinations we used to "build" the smell code. In some cases the three scents we matched have the same color of the color (forgive the pun!) that they represent. It is, for instance, the case with the three white scents: white lily, milk, and coconut pulp which are indeed white. The same goes for the yellow, green, and brown scents. In other cases, instead, we combined two scents matching the color with one that can in some way be linked with the color.

Such is the case with black, where the scent of incense is rather linked with one of the meaning attached to black in western culture, mourning.

Red matches the red cherry and red watermelon with the scent of sun lotion, because red is a warm, summer-like color.

Blue smells like linden-blossoms that, although reminiscent of the beginning of summer, also evoke a feeling of coolness.

Gray is smoke, but chic Chanel N.5 as well, to remind us that you wear gray to be subtly stylish, and also thyme, an aromatic herb, to say how plain and uncospicuous gray can be.

There were endless choices for pink: we could not leave out roses, from which the color takes its Italian name, then orchids, rare in their pink variety, and peaches, with their pink blossoms and thin, velvety, shaded pink peel.

To represent purple, nothing better than violets, in Italian the namesake of the color, but we also chose another flower, in a lighter hue of purple, lavender, and sandalwood scent, to underscore this color's precious character.

We did much the same with orange: two orange-colored fruits, orange and apricot, and one exotic essence, patchouly.

These scents/smells were not obligated choices, but we must always bear in mind that what we want to do is to build a standard code through which we can match one smell with each color.

We could have chosen different scents/smells, of course! Does this mean that anyone can chose scents/smell of their own choice? Absolutely not! that way, we could have no shared code to build an idea/mental image of black, purple, pink, etc.

it would be like everyone making up their own alphabet to write a letter to a friend, a short story, a poem. what if every musician should make up and use his or her own musical notation to write their music: no one else could play that music.

The same proceeding was used to build a code comprising each color's touch-readable symbol, which you will find on the sheets of the "11" Kit, and sound, which you can hear at the end of each color's introductory tale.

But let's examine them closely.

Touch-readable symbols and colors

BLACK black's symbol is made of clustered dots, to describe how black annihilates all other colors. Black does not appear in the rainbow, that is in the solar spectrum.

WHITE on the other hand, white's symbol is made of dots fanning out from a center, to show that white, like light, "expands", and evokes a feeling of open space. Like black, white doesn't appear in the solar spectrum, and is "made" by adding together all the colors in the rainbow.

RED the dots in red's symbol form a circle, meaning that red is a "full", "strong", "complete" color.

YELLOW the dots in yellow's symbol make a rhomb with nothing in its center; this is meant to show that yellow is an "open" color, but does not expand like white does, and maintains a distinct personality.

GREEN the dots in green's symbol describe a baseless triangle pointing upwards, a very simple image of a fir tree.

BLUE the dots in blue's symbol are disposed to form a wave, to represent the color of the sea reflecting a cloudless sky.

BROWN brown's symbol is made of dots describing a small hole in the ground, ready to welcome a plant's roots or a seed.

GRAY the dots in gray's symbol form a horizontal line, to represent both the color's "flat" and "quiet" character, and its "understated elegance".

PINK the dots in pink's symbol form a spiral to evoke, for instance, a rose bud or the heart of a large sea-shell.

PURPLE the dots in purple's symbol form a vertical line with two "legs" at the bottom, to represent the humility of the retiring violet.

ORANGE the dots in orange's symbol form a semicircle with its convex side facing upwards, to both show its affinity with red, and evoke the image of the setting sun in a clear day.

But beyond the meaning we attached to each symbol/sign, the primary concern remains that of building a code.

Sounds and colors

There is a strong link between color and sound, and many culture have explored it thoroughly. We do not want to deal here with a complex and intriguing history that would lead us too far. As we did with the SMELL/COLOR and SYMBOL/COLOR matches, we would rather tell you, instead, how we came to build the soundcolor code.

Painter Vasily Kandinskij used to match red with a trumpet's blare. Although common enough, this correlation is not universally shared; and by now we know that what we want is to build a shared code that allows us to shape a mental image of a colorsound, and use it to communicate with others, both normally sighted and visually impaired.

Therefore, we chose to compose all our soundcolors on the same intrument: the piano. In this case, since you can listen to the sounds at the end of each color's introductory tale, we do not need to describe or explain them here, as we had to do with the COLOR/SMELLS and COLOR/SYMBOLS. Please, listen to the sounds themselves: it is much more important.

History of 11

Games with the book

Time to play!

The games we suggest will help you memorize the colors, but we hope you will have fun playing them!

Then you can make up your own games, and email us a description of what you came up with.