[artinfo] Art & Illusion for Sound - Rorschach Audio

Art PR dsnfrmtn at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 15:11:18 CEST 2016

"Rorschach Audio - Art & Illusion for Sound" 
stresses the influence that relatively 
little-known wartime intelligence work with sound 
had on one of the most important works of visual 
arts theory ever published...

What are the connections between Leonardo da 
Vinci and Dick Whittington, between the BBC 
Monitoring Service and punk band The Clash, 
between wartime military intelligence work, 
visual arts theory, battle management systems, 
Spiritualism, radio and recording technology and 
criminal witness testimony? What role do JG 
Ballard, Osama bin Laden, William Burroughs, Jean 
Cocteau, Richard Dawkins, Jean Genet, William 
Hogarth, Pope Pius XII, Primo Levi, 
proto-Surrealist writer Raymond Roussel, teenage 
criminal Derek Bentley, Sigmund Freud and 
crystallographer Louis Albert Necker play in the 
disentangling of mysteries of human perception?

Taking a major cue from art historian EH 
Gombrich's seminal text "Art & Illusion", 
"Rorschach Audio" is a work of contemporary 
cultural scholarship and an exploration of the 
art and science of psychoacoustic ambiguities. 
Part detective story, part artistic and cultural 
critique, "Rorschach Audio" lifts the lid on an 
array of fascinating and under-examined 
perceptual and political phenomena.

"Rorschach Audio" is essential reading for 
everyone interested in air-traffic control, 
anechoic chambers, artificial oxygen carriers, 
audio art, bell-ringing, cocktail parties, 
cognitive science, communications interference, 
compost, the death penalty, Electronic Voice 
Phenomena, evangelism, evolutionary biology, 
experimental music, ghosts, the historiography of 
art, illusions of sound and illusions of 
language, lip-reading jokes, nuclear blast 
craters, predictive texting, singing hair, sonic 
archives, sound design, steam trains, tinnitus, 
the Turing Test, Victorian blood painting, visual 
depth and space perception, ultrasonic visual 
music, ventriloquism, voices and warehouse 
robberies and fires.

"The earliest form of sound recording technology 
was not a machine but was written language..." 
(Rorschach Audio, page 96)

Trade distribution by Turnaround

ISBN 978-1-907222-20-7
Hardback, 191 pages
Art Theory, Cultural Studies
UK £10 Non-Fiction

An early MIT Press version of "Rorschach Audio" 
(published 2001) can be downloaded here -



Rorschach Audio lecture-demonstrations have been 
presented at The British Library, The Science 
Museum Dana Centre, The Royal College of Art, The 
ICA, City University, Kings College & Freud 
Museum (London), Liverpool Biennale, The 
Universities of Leeds and Edinburgh, FHNW 
(Basel), Argos (Brussels), Arteleku (San 
Sebastian), Gertrude Contemporary and MUMA 
(Melbourne). "Rorschach Audio" sound artworks 
have been commissioned by MUU Helsinki and Palais 
de Tokyo. Project supported by The Arts & 
Humanities Research Council, Goldsmiths College 
(University of London) and The Institute for 
Modern & Contemporary Culture at The University 
of Westminster.

Psychoacoustic Demonstration + Audio Test Sequence...


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