Radio transmissions from the film “Orpheus” by Jean Cocteau. Obviously subtitled translations of original foreign-language dialogue inevitably will vary, however the section of dialogue most relevant to EVP research, and to the ideas discussed in “Rorschach Audio”, are the lines subtitled in this video as (referring to the radio messages) “Where could they be coming from, Heurtebise? They’re on no other station. I’m certain they’re meant for me”. As described in the “Rorschach Audio” publications, the same dialogue is translated by Carol Martin-Sperry (in the English language publication of Cocteau’s original screen-play) as “Where could they be coming from? No other station broadcasts them. I feel certain they are addressed to me personally”. Cocteau confirmed this sound imagery was “inspired by the BBC broadcasts of the occupation” – by the mysterious and enigmatic radio transmissions which carried coded messages from the British military to French resistance fighters during WW2. The hypothesis floated by “Rorschach Audio” is that Cocteau’s sound design appropriated and alluded to what may have been common experiences – that wartime radio listeners and (historic and contemporary) EVP enthusiasts may have shared a tendency to perceive cryptic voice transmissions as though such transmissions had some supernatural aspect, and as though such transmissions are or were addressed to them personally (however, at the risk of stating the more-than-obvious, the main difference between EVP research and Cocteau’s sound imagery is that the latter never tried to convince the bereaved of any allegedly literal truth).
In “The Periodic Table” the Italian former partisan Primo Levi also recalled an “intricate universe of mysterious messages, morse tickings, modulated hisses, deformed, mangled human voices which pronounced sentences in incomprehensible languages or in code… messages of death… the radiophonic Babel of war”; and during WW2 the philosopher AJ Ayer worked for SOE and for MI6, working with exactly the kind of radio traffic that Cocteau’s sound imagery drew upon. Compare and contrast this material with the “Rorschach Audio” project’s treatment of the wartime work of BBC Monitoring Service supervisor and post-war art historian EH Gombrich (see every published version of “Rorschach Audio”, 1999 through 2012).
“Traité de Bave et d’Èternité” (“Venom & Eternity”) by Jean Isidore Isou (compare and contrast the extraordinary performance by the Lettrist Choir, featured in the opening sequence of “Venom & Eternity”, with the equally extraordinary sound collages of cognitive psychologist Diana Deutsch, etc).
See “Rorschach Audio” book pages 29 to 35, 52, 129 and 140.
Nearly 10,000 people visited the first Disinformation solo exhibition at Fabrica gallery in Brighton in 2001, which included a “Rorschach Audio” lecture, among many elements, and variations on that exhibition toured to 8 different galleries up & down the UK. On the 24 May 2013, Disinformation returns… to perform at this year’s Brighton Fringe. Notwithstanding the opulent Angel House venue being a short hop from central Brighton over the border in Hove, Disinformation & Strange Attractor use antique high-voltage electro-medical equipment to show a bunch of electronic keyboards exactly what we think of learning to play the damn things properly.
“Circuit Blasting” is an auto-destructive art and noise performance, which is “a bit like Circuit Bending, but alot less subtle” – as the Brighton Fringe publicity states “mad science and musical madness collide in a one-of-a-kind performance… the circuits of musical instruments are overloaded to produce a startling, unrestrained series of notes, beats and patterns… electroshock therapy for your ears”.
Admission is free, unusually however the event is at 12.30 lunch-time
Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge
1 Brunswick Terrace
Brighton & Hove
East Sussex BN3 1HN
Event curated by Mark Pilkington
The Listening Group at City University, London, will be hosting a Rorschach Audio lecture-demonstration, 10 May 2013, at 5pm sharp – the talk is free and open to the public, sign-in at the front desk for admission (City University “clock tower” entrance – big red brick building, east side of St. John Street, London EC1, Room AG09). Special thanks to Seth Ayyaz and to Newton Armstrong for the invitation.
Thanks also to everyone who came along to the Guapo LP launch at Corsica Studios – a great night, and special thanks to David J. Smith for that invitation.
The latter some time after The Quietus already featured “Rorschach Audio”!
Ai Weiwei, the Citroën DS, Bollywood punk-pop, Kuala Lumpur airport, the Victorian underworld, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, opthalmology, cassette culture, Steven Pinker, Cocteau’s “Orpheus”, Rorschach ink-blots, Spiritualism, technology and electronic ghosts – “Art is not necessarily science, but science is always art”.
“Cockneys vs Zombies – Rorschach Ink Blots & the Auditory Undead” features in “Feast of Listen”, the 10th issue of the art and culture magazine Shoppinghour. Other contributors include Alexander Goodson, Amy Pettifer, And-Or, Audun Mortensen, Brian Roettinger, Chandler McWilliams, Dave Okumu, Gee Vaucher, Hayden White, Human Fiction Tartini, Isabella Martin, Jacek Plewicki, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lefty Le Mur, Mandy Kahn, Martyna Dakowicz, Michal Kosakowski, Mikhail Karikis, Mikołaj Tkacz, Minjeong An, Mushon Zer-Aviv, Niall Macdonald, Nico Krijno, Penny Rimbaud, Sam Beste of Hejira & Sara C Motta. Shoppinghour 10 launches at Super Salon, Warsaw on April 19. The UK launch is at Ti Pi Tin, 47 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 8EL, on Thursday, May 9 at 7.30pm.
The “Rorschach Audio” book’s also got a very good review – by Mark Norton – in the current issue of Fortean Times.