In 1921, Swiss psychiatrist, Hermann Rorschach developed the critically acclaimed Rorschach inkblot test. Originally designed to shed light on unconscious parts of the personality, the test itself is to this day barraged with arguments of its scientific insignificance, given the unpredictability of often-indiscernible responses. Despite this, the concept of separate individuals perceiving the same stimuli in wildly different ways has been a huge point of interest for many researchers both before and since Rorschach’s inkblots.
Recently released and aptly titled book, Rorschach Audio – Art & Illusion for Sound, builds upon this theory of visual perception, applying it to the way in which humans perceive sound. Via a labyrinth of extensively researched information and a lightly comedic tone, Joe Banks weaves together a diverse collective of research into cultural history, visual arts theory and perceptual science which is engaging and eye-opening, shedding light on a contemporary perspective of the way any number of variables can affect the way we perceive the world around us.
Joe Banks has been producing lectures and publications under the title of Rorschach Audio since 1999. Art & Illusion for Sound is so far the most thorough of Banks’ research, although it regularly draws from his previous work before building upon it. At the most basic level, Banks began this line of research in order to analyse and potentially disprove the controversial concept of EVP (otherwise known as Electronic Voice Phenomena).
In short, EVP researchers believe that via electronically generated noises that allegedly sound like voices, it is possible to definitely and scientifically prove the existence of the afterlife. Joe Banks, a true sceptic, it would appear, began to further explore the possibility that, though not all of these experiments were intentionally or maliciously fraudulent, they were all potentially nothing more than illusions of sound – both to the experiments’ participants and the scientists conducting them.
Visual art theory takes up a huge portion of the book’s content, but is regularly punctuated with the kind of fascinating information that make for any interesting read. Whether Banks is talking about the walking miracle, David Wright, a deaf South African poet who is still able to hear his Mother’s voice when he watches her lips, or explaining the possibility that our ancestors’ perception of the World as they knew it is built into our DNA to further aid our own perception of our personal reality, it’s easy to spend hours after the read is over pondering the workings of the human mind.
Not to mention the continuous stream of household names, which all have an apparently direct link to Banks’ work. Walt Disney once tried to buy the rights to an invention that enabled a recording of a train to sound like a voice when attached to the throat. Thomas Edison, once he was done inventing the light bulb, went on to nurse a passion for telekinesis and extra sensory perception. Essentially, the author has made it impossible for a reader to finish his book without feeling at least somewhat enlightened.
Anyone who takes the time to immerse themselves in Rorschach Audio – Art & Illusion for Sound, will find themselves exploring countless new belief systems they would’ve otherwise remained blissfully unaware of. A must for any true MONOLITH reader.