The text description on You Tube states – “Update: Been a few years now, doing very well! For those of you saying this was forced on me, it wasn’t. Completely my decision. Just wanted to clarify that. I’m in college now and thriving!”
AXNS Collective – Arts X Neuroscience – just published an article on “The Analysis of Beauty & Blind Spots – Evolution & Neuroscience”. The article revisits some ideas, which are discussed in the “Rorschach Audio” book and on this website, in context however of material which includes passages on opthalmic neuroscience quoted from Aldous Huxley. The article places discussion of “The Analysis of Beauty” in context of a broader argument about how certain types of perceptual phenomena demonstrate the extent to which “visual reality is in itself a carefully constructed optical illusion”, being very careful to stress however that such illusions “usually provide accurate descriptions of our external world”. In addition, the suggestion that the mind might also be able to “switch off” visual objects (which exist right there there in front of us) may also seem counterintuitive, however the article responds to William Hogarth’s assertion that “the eye may be subdued and forced into forming and disposing of objects even quite contrary to what it would naturally see them, by the prejudgment of the mind” (emphases added) by showing how the mind can and does “edit” whole objects into and out of visual perception as a matter of routine…
For reasons of space, it wasn’t possible to include all the quotes from Aldous Huxley in the article for AXNS, so, in context of this website, it’s helpful to add some more detail. In his book “The Art of Seeing” Aldous Huxley states that “sensing is not the same as perceiving” and that “the eyes and nervous system do the sensing, the mind does the perceiving”. Huxley describes how “in adults, the three processes of sensing, selecting and perceiving are for all intents and purposes simultaneous”, with the effect that under normal circumstances “we are only aware of the total process of seeing objects and not of the subsidiary processes which culminate in seeing”. Huxley goes on to describe how “by inhibiting the activity of the interpreting mind”, it is however possible to “catch a hint of the raw sensum [sense data] as it presents itself to the eyes of the newborn child”, and how “for the adult, a complete recapture of the experience of pure sensation, without perception of physical objects, is possible, in most cases, only in certain abnormal conditions, when the upper levels of the mind have been put out of action by drugs or disease”.
Aldous Huxley describes “an experience of my own”, recalling how “coming out of an anaesthetic administered in a dentist’s chair” produced the effect that “returning awareness began with pure visual sensations completely devoid of significance”. These sensations “were not objects existing ‘out there’ in the familiar, three-dimensional world”, but were “just coloured patches, existing in and for themselves, unrelated not only to the external world, but also to myself – for the knowledge of self was still wholly lacking, and these meaningless and unattached sense impressions were not mine, they simply were.” As the anaesthetic wore off these coloured patches became “associated with certain objects ‘out there’ in the external three-dimensional world”, and Huxley goes on to describe how his mind progressively identified and categorised these objects, increasingly relating them to his own memories and to his re-emerging sense of self. Then, perhaps most revealingly, Huxley describes how these thought-processes themselves led to “further clarification of vision”.
Now, I’m aware that there’s some controversy about some of the content in “The Art of Seeing”, however that relates to debate about the efficacy of specific therapeutic procedures advocated by Huxley, and not to his insights into psychology of perception. It should also be stressed that studies of illusions also provide very powerful tools for studying perception.
Source – Aldous Huxley “The Art of Seeing” Chatto & Windus 1943
With apologies for not posting about this earlier, thanks to everyone who came to an excellent night at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, London, 2 June 2016. “Music Concrète: of the Building Outside the Building” was “a collaborative night of joyful experimental sound art and performance (created) using recorded sounds and sonically manipulated environmental data from Senate House Library”. The source material was recorded by Senate House artist-in-residence Hannah Thompson, and the evening featured sets by Paul Middleton & Daniel Knowler, Medial Ages, Isn’tses, Aatschlag, Raxil4, Orlando Harrison, Disinformation, and a particularly memorable contribution by real-life beekeeper Bioni Samp (with GPUD not performing owing to commitments at Senate House). Among other sound elements, the Disinformation performance showcased recent “Rorschach Audio” themed experiments, created using speech synthesis and vocoded speech recordings…
“Let Him Have It” on London Live TV, repeating 11pm tonight – Tues 3rd May 2016
A small version of “The Analysis of Beauty” oscilloscope installation was exhibited as part of “Seeing Sound” – a practice-led research symposium at Bath Spa University on the 9th and 10th April 2016. The installation was exhibited to illustrate a lecture on “J.G. Ballard, Ultrasonic Visual Music, William Hogarth & The Analysis of Beauty”, which is based on a talk given at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, as summarised on this website. Although the focus of “Seeing Sound” was on sonification, visualisation and visual music, rather than on visual representations of and sounds of speech, the “Rorschach Audio” book says “the earliest form of sound recording technology was not a machine but was written language” – so, citing that quote in her presentation, Zata Banks pointed out that an important mechanism for seeing sound is therefore the reading of written text. For the “Sistine Chapel” quote, follow these links…
“Seeing Sound” was co-ordinated by Jo Hyde, and featured lectures, performances and screenings by Frieda Abtan, Luigi Allemano, Aural-i, Robert Baldock, Joe Banks, Zata Banks, Bret Battey, Myriam Boucher, Emma Bowen, David J. Brown, Jessica Arianne Rodriquez Cabrera, Anna Cady, Duncan Chapman, Marko Ciciliani, Tom J Clarke, Stewart Collinson, Fred Collopy, Nick Cope, Grayson Cooke, Jethro Cooke, Nuno Correia, Emilio Hernández Cortés, Larry Cuba, Thierry Dilger, Disinformation, Karel Doing, Dot Product, Andrew Duff, Bryan Dunphy, Alexander Dupuis, Yati Durant, Christian Eloy, Tariq Emam, Marie Cécile Embleton, Ricardo Dal Farra, Brian Garbet, Harvey Goldman, Mick Grierson, Hugi Guðmundsson, Louise Harris, Kristin Hayter, Ian Helliwell, Andrew Hill, Ryo Ikeshiro, Martin Keary, Victoria Keddie, Steven Kemper, Trent Kim, Chris King, Robert Mackay, Sama Mara, Francesc Marti, Bébhinn McDonnell, Maura McDonnell, Mike McInerney, Dugal McKinnon, Monomatic, Rob Mullender, Joao Pedro Oliveira, Ireti Olowe, Victoria Oruwari, Panther Panther, Daniela de Pauli, Dave Payling, Jean Piché, Jean Philippe Pierre-Louis, Jane Pitt, Chris Plant, Alexander Peverett, Michael J. Proulx, Krunoslav Pticar, Sharon Quigley, Joost Rekveld, Tom Richards, Rolando Rodriguez, Tonali Rufino, Kevin Satizabal, Margaret Schedel, Matthew Schoen, Kartik Seshadri, Vishal Shah, Ellis Sharpe, James Snazell, Vibeke Sorensen, Fernando Falci de Souza, Lewis Sykes, Andrea Szigetvári, Dan Tapper, Pauline Thomas, Jing Wang, John Wedgwood-Clarke, Jon Weinel, Lee Westwood, Kristina Wolfe and Pablo Perez Zarate (it’s a huge list, sorry if I missed anyone). Fortunately it’s not a reflection of the overall quality of contributions that Dan Tapper’s work with “unheard” sounds of VLF radio – especially VLF noise from underground tube trains – seems so similar to the Disinformation project’s (much earlier) work with identical subject matter!
Rorschach Audio classics – The Two Ronnies “Four Candles”
“Speech itself is an art form” – http://tinyurl.com/hfrdowt