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Sound Spaces: Rorschach Audio | Disinformation


MUMA and Liquid Architecture are pleased to present British sound artist and writer Joe Banks in Australia for the first time.

MUMA will present a special concert by sonic arts project Disinformation (founded by Joe Banks) as part of MUMA’s Sound Spaces. At Gertrude Contemporary, Joe Banks will deliver a lecture entitled Rorschach Audio, as part of the Theories and Histories of Sound series presented in association with Discipline.

Emerging in London in the mid 1990s, Disinformation pioneered creative uses of electromagnetic (radio) noise radiated by live mains electricity, lightning, magnetic storms, high­voltage plasma discharges, industrial, IT and laboratory hardware, railway and metro systems, and the sun. From the beginning, Disinformation’s imagery was strongly driven by research into fields including military research and development, space physics, and psychology of perception and illusion. While other young artists were subscribing to Artforum, Joe was devouring journals on defence electronics and communications psychology.

In 2012, taking his cue from Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, Banks published the book Rorschach Audio: Art & Illusion for Sound exploring the relation between techniques of recording and mechanisms of perception, through figures as diverse as parapsychologist Konstantīns Raudive, film-maker Jean Cocteau, and the art historian and wartime intelligence eavesdropper E.H. Gombrich. Joe lives in London, near the set of traffic lights that inspired physicist Leo Szilard to conceive the theory of the thermonuclear chain reaction.

Sound Spaces: Disinformation
Venue: MUMA
Thursday 4 June, 6:30-8:00pm
Against the backdrop of MUMA's current exhibition Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, Liquid Architecture and MUMA present the first ever Australian performance by Disinformation. Disinformation will perform a one hour set in near complete darkness utilising sounds including (but not limited to) electromagnetic (radio) noise radiated by mains electricity, lightning, magnetic storms, high­voltage plasma discharges, industrial, IT and laboratory hardware, railway and metro systems, and the sun. Comfy cushions and pay bar provided.

Rorschach Audio Discussion / Workshop with Joe Banks
Venue: MUMA
Saturday 6 June, 3:00-4:30pm
Bookings essential: or ph. 03 9905 4365
Following on from Wednesday’s talk at Gertrude Contemporary (see below), Joe Banks leads participants into deeper discussion of the fields of psychoacoustics and psychology of perception, presenting a series of highly-entertaining video clips, artefacts and readings, not previously included in any of his Rorschach Audio lecture-demonstrations.

Lecture: Joe Banks ‘Rorschach Audio’
Venue: Gertrude Contemporary
Wednesday 3 June, 6:30-8:00pm
In Rorschach Audio: Art & Illusion for Sound, Banks offers a critical account of Spiritualistic and allegedly supernatural Electronic Voice Phenomena (ghost­voice) recordings, tracing the uncanny phenomena back through the histories of art, literature and the little-known audio monitoring work by UK wartime intelligence agencies. Banks argues that ‘the earliest form of sound recording technology was not a machine but was written language’, illustrating the argument via a series of fascinating and bizarre psychoacoustic illusions. The talk will be followed by a short response from artist and researcher Ceri Hann (RMIT) before being opened to discussion.

Organised by Francis E. Parker
Sound Spaces is a performance series of experimental and improvised music that embraces the growing overlap between visual art and sound art. Sound Spaces opens up MUMA’s artistic program to ephemeral presentations by Australian and international artists and musicians, encompassing both acoustic performance and electronics.

A rotating collaboration, Sound Spaces sees MUMA work with different innovative experimental music organisations such as the Australian Art Orchestra, Liquid Architecture and Room40 for each iteration of the series. The series runs in parallel with MUMA’s exhibition program with occasional direct dialogues with particular exhibition projects.

Image: Hermann Rorschach in 1921

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