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Artist Statement:


Video Rorschach Test is a video series which abstract symmetrical images are shown as a kind of a perception test. Inspired by the original Rorschach Test, the work aims to evoke visual associations via abstract images, experimenting the process of recognition of shape, color and movement.

In the original Rorschach Test, 10 inkblots cards are shown to the patient. It is believed that through the associations of the patient, certain patterns and answers can be seen as sign of mental illness. For example, the creator of the Rorschach Test, Hermann Rorschach, found out that a manic-depressive in a depressive phase will give no movement responses or color responses. They are unable to see human figures, and are tend to look at details before seeing the whole picture (the reverse of the normal pattern).

Later, Rorschach Test was widely used as a projective test from Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Science, even personality test, after the death of the creator. It is even used in distinguishing gay soldier in the U.S. in 1960s. While it is highly effective in distinguishing certain mental illnesses, Rorschach test was criticized heavily.

The Work was mainly inspired by three different aspect from Rorschach Test. First, the criticizes. Second, the original purpose of Hermann Rorschach. Third, philosophical
and public discussions.

1. The Rorschach Test is all but a medium of projection.
While Rorschach Test was created as a tool of perception test, not projective test, the inkblot cards can be replaced with anything abstract, such as clouds. Criticism stated that Rorschach Test was only the medium for the doctor to project his own determination onto the patient. The diagnose process of Rorschach Test was subjective, relying on the thought of the patient, which varies in persons, cultures, etc., and the thought of the doctor, who might have false bias or stereotypes that affects the result. Furthermore, it seems unjust to be evidences based on statistics. people can be found prone to violence and aggressive actions with the test, yet having a clean record.
If the Test was merely a medium that have gone through statistical sorting process, I think a different version of Rorschach Test should be created, like changing the screen in the theater. The answers and responses might be more helpful to the researches, while present doctors still use the original ten cards created a hundred years ago.

2. Constructivism and media influences
Taking a Constructivism view on the Rorschach test, the patient projects meaning onto the meaningless images. In the positive viewpoint of the test, it does reveal the thinking process of individual, which can be analyzed and studied. The humanistic vision, as Hermann Rorschach himself taken, is an essential point of view when accessing the test. The test is effective only through interpretation, instead of imagination. Meaning is created only by the patient.
On the other hand, public opinions take an opposite view. People believed that the images projects onto the patient. The discussion is similar to media entertainments, such as comics. Anti-hero “Rorschach” in “Watchmen”, who wears inkblots pattern mask, took the same perspective in the discussion. The public stated that it is the inkblot cards influencing people, just like comics or movies do.
Both perspectives are interesting. In the work, I tried to make the images feel more violent, negative and depressed. However, that is only my personal projection. The abstract image can still be projected, being a perfect meaning making medium.

3. Original Purpose of Hermann Rorschach
Like aforementioned, the original Rorschach Test was not a projective test, created for psychiatry purpose. Instead, it is a perception test, aiming to observe the association of shape, color, and movement.
It is interesting that the tool was originally being more of an artwork than a tool of science. While reading the observations of Rorschach as he testing patient, I noticed that even though three of the elements can be observed, the movement of the image is purely imaged. By mainly using the symmetrical pattern, movements are created by the patients themselves, yet shapes and colors can be identified on the image. However, this inequality of the third element can be solved by making a video. While things are moving, real movement can be formed on the images, adding a more concrete constitution to the perception test.

About the Work:

In Video Rorschach Test, I used 1/4 sec shutter speed to achieve the abstraction of reality. Since in the “clear” world, shapes are easy to distinguish, yet only circle will remain when taking the approach of putting the lens out of focus. From the original footage, 30 seconds were chosen, then speeding up to 10 seconds. While movements being the most important aspect in video, they were taken in consideration first when shooting the video.

16 Footages were produced

Then 10 footages were selected, since the original Rorschach Test is composed of ten cards. However, this is not the final version, since some of the movements are still not collected, such as rotating, orientating, etc.

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