"Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs, he is truly magnificent; but those organs have not grown on him and they still give him much trouble at times." Sigmund Freud
Leonardo observed that the patterns of nature are recursive, reappearing at different scales: if you focused on cracks in the wall, you would be able to discern rivers, and you could make out faces, animals, and landscapes in the clouds above. Somewhere between the Dionysian and Apollonian attitudes lie the world’s patterns of chaos and order.
Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1884, Hermann Rorschach, the son of an artist, was known for his childhood explorations of blotted ink on paper. Based on Sigmund Freud’s theory of “unconscious projection,” Rorschach found that individuals who were asked to describe what they saw in a random inkblot would reveal certain patterns of thinking and understanding that were not realized on the “conscious” level of awareness.
“Projection” is the Freudian concept that states: we see in ambiguous objects that which we do not see in ourselves. According to this theory, when we speculate about an indeterminate pattern – such as splashes of ink on paper, we are actually seeing unknown aspects of ourselves. In this way, subjectivity is not mere personal opinion, but a depiction of the unconscious aspects of our personality. When we speculate on what we “see in the inkblot,” we are describing a reflection of ourselves (“speculate” is from the Latin “speculum” meaning “mirror”).
Last night I made some of my own Rorschach tests and animated them.
I see a guardian spirit, an aeroplane in flight, a queen with fireworks, an animal totem. I feel protection, presence, joy, animal kinship. What do you see?