Institute for Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art
Portland, Maine 

Project_Rorschach presents an opening, a commentary, an aesthetic object in its own right. It is filled with references to contemporary architecture, to Rietvield’s chairs, to the ways in which we consume images, and to the ways we reinterpret them. The most obvious among them is the invocation of the contentious Rorschach test. Once meticulously printed on a single antique press in Switzerland, the Rorschach images were sold only to licensed therapists. Having run out of copyright protection in the U.S., the test images are now available on Wikipedia for all to contemplate. We employ a reference to them as an invitation to follow and see (anew) images of contemporary architectural tropes. 

Grouped by meme, ubiquitous images of architecture are layered into ten revised Rorschach cards. No longer in fact inkblots, but retaining the symmetry formerly constitutive of their process of figuration (which in turn ties back to the symmetry that governs most of the organic world and symmetry that defamiliarizes in multiplication even our own faces), these architectural Rorschach images are super-saturated compositions of chimneys, robotic bricks, cantilevers, house piles, hyper-towers, circles, phalluses, beany blobs, single surfaces, dia-grids and stacks. They are assembled precisely from the archives that are available for all of us to draw on when thirsty – ArchinectArchdailyDezeen, etc. – and allowed to operate in the low-res flatness that is their currency. 

This project invites architectural self-analysis while it simultaneously plays on the fact that the discipline of architecture is comprised, multiplied and advanced from constant projections onto its own archives. Although the inkblot revisions still might send the “chance image” signal, Project_Rorschach does not provide any means for authorial evaluation of the imaginations projected onto it. It speaks instead, and hopefully propels further, into an open-ended string of interpretations – some of architecture’s contemporary haunts.

Project_Rorschach is an ongoing collaboration with Sarah Hirschman.