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Celebrating the Rainbow in Switzerland

Sommer visitors to the village of Lützelflüh, in the hills of the Emmental in Switzerland, were welcomed with more than 50 colorful banners of great beauty, reflecting the joy of life of the creators. The flags were painted by residents of homes for the aged and communities for handicapped people and by schoolchildren– all living in the Emmental region, home of the famous cheese. This open air gallery of people‘s art was part of Rainbow 01 – an Exhibition and Forum dealing with the phenomenon of the Rainbow, which took placeover five weeks in the village of Lützelflüh.

The exhibition as the heart of the whole event was a visual presentation of the Rainbow, which took place at the old mill, a regional cultural meeting point. In the garden outside, the cafeteria was surrounded by an open-air gallery for artists and their rainbow installations like the light sculptures, by Alfred Wolski from Germany. The food and drink was all from local and regional, mostly organic sources, cooked in public with the cook on hand to talk about the dishes.

Over five weeks there were a total of 36 intercultural events: lectures, demonstrations, discussions, concerts and art performances each dealing with a specific aspect of the Rainbow – as ecology, economies, physics, sensual awareness, medicine, politics, intercultural exchange, myths and fairy tales, music and dance.

These included a lecture by Arnold Keyserling, the doyen of the new thinking from Vienna; a voyage into the world of fairy tales by Sergius Golowin, mythologist and author; a theatrical performance The Story of Colour, created and performed by the community of handicapped people from a nearby village and the Meeting of Horns, a concert with the Australian didgeridoo, the Slovak fujara, the Swiss alphorn and the human voice. Peter König from Zürich provided the space to explore personal relationships with money.There was an ecumenical service, a Tibetan evening an Indian night and on the fateful September 11, Michael Two Feathers, Chief of the Lakota Nation arrived from the US to take part in an Inter-religious dialog entitled Am I Dreaming or Am I Going Crazy?

Thomas Bertschi, the founder of the Rainbow Project and the inspiration for Rainbow 01 wanted to establish the whole project in the village community and in the whole Emmental region, and was delighted when the village authorities became involved at an official level. More than 50 people from the village helped with the many duties joyfully and in good heart. The local women‘s association created a Rainbow Quilt which was presented to the public at the opening, and the village fire brigade produced a huge curtain of water with theire hoses and in perfect weather conditions, an artifical rainbow appeared.

The whole project was based on cooperation and sharing. The organisers felt it became an example for the strong power of the Rainbow in its symbolic space as a bridge – connecting the young and the old, the near and the far, the familiar and the strange, the known and the unknown. In its basic concept Rainbow 01 can be reproduced anywhere. And it‘s already happening. In 2002 there will be a Rainbow Exhibition in Auerstedt, a village close to Weimar, Germany, based on the experiences in Lützelflüh – connecting many local people, potentials, resources and networks. And as in Switzerland every visitor will be asked: "What does a Rainbow mean for you?"

In German you find more information about the programme: Programm├╝bersicht Regenbogen 01 Programmübersicht Regenbogen 01