The Freud Museum

Events Archive

23 July 2015
7pm-8.30pm

Rorschach Audio

An Evening of Psychoacoustic and Optical Illusions

The book Rorschach Audio: Art & Illusion for Sound, by author and installation artist Joe Banks, takes as its central metaphor the comparison between the perception of ambiguous speech-sounds, and the “projective” interpretation of the famous ink-blot tests devised by the Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in 1921.

With a nod to the model of perception proposed by Freud, Banks explores relationships between mechanisms of aural and visual perception, demonstrating a series of highly entertaining and sometimes bizarre psychoacoustic and optical illusions.

With a further nod to ideas proposed in Freud’s The Future of An Illusion, the lecture focusses on a critique of Spiritualistic and allegedly supernatural Electronic Voice Phenomena (ghost-voice) recordings, a theme wildly popular in contemporary sound installation art. Banks traces the illusions involved as far back as the artist generally recognised as the most important figure in the history of Western art, and reveals the role that relatively little-known wartime intelligence work with sound had on what is arguably the most important work of visual arts theory ever published.

Joe Banks produces the installation art and electronic music project Disinformation. Disinformation exhibits and performs internationally, has been the subject of over a dozen UK solo exhibitions - including a recent solo installation at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, and has exhibited in group shows at Kiasma (Helsinki), CCCB (Barcelona), Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge) and The Hayward Gallery (London).

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