Rorschach Audio - Ghost Voices, Art, Illusions and Sonic Archives
When: Fri 28 Jun 2013, 12.30-14.00
Where: Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation
Price: Free, booking essential
Writing in Playback: the Bulletin of the British Library Sound Archive, Toby Oakes observed that the archive 'deals with the voices of the dead every day, but our subjects tend to have been alive at the time of recording'. 'Mortality was no impediment' however, in the case of tapes recorded by parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, who claimed that Galileo, Goethe and Hitler communicated with him through the medium of radio waves. Raudive was the most famous exponent of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), as it is known, and the British Library holds a collection of 60 of his unedited tapes.
Rather than dismissing the claims of EVP researchers out-of-hand, author Joe Banks demonstrates a number of highly entertaining audio-visual illusions, which show how the mind can misinterpret recordings of sound and of stray communications chatter, in a similar way to how viewers project imaginary images onto the random visual forms of the psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach’s famous ink-blot tests.
The talk stresses the important role that intelligent guesswork plays in normal perception, and discusses descriptions of sound phenomena by Leonardo da Vinci, and the work of the BBC Monitoring Service, emphasizing the influence that wartime intelligence work with sound had on one of the most important works of visual arts theory - Art & Illusion by (wartime radio monitor and post-war art historian) E.H. Gombrich.
From 2007 to 2012 the Rorschach Audio research project was supported by The Arts & Humanities Research Council, Goldsmiths College and The University of Westminster.
This talk is part of the Summer Scholars programme. To book a space please email: firstname.lastname@example.org