Friday, 8 November 2013

"What does this look like?" "A Rorschach ink-blot test, of course!"

Another Google Doodle for an odd-numbered birthday, here an animation asking us what we see in inkblots for Hermann Rorschach’s 129th birthday.

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think all the blots in the Doodle are real ones. Either that, or I have a very strong memory of garden gnomes shaking hands.

The ink-blot test is a nice easy visual way to refer to psychiatric treatment, so it’s become one of the recurring jokes about the subject in popular culture.

Hence the above quote from the Eighth Doctor comics, possibly borrowed from an Emo Phillips joke although played straight there...

See also Rorschach in Watchmen, his mask a hint that he is whatever the viewer fears. The Doodle’s blots change like it does in the film version. (Which makes his mask the only super-tech gadget he ever uses. Doy.)

Ink-blot imagery also appears in the 1999 version of House On Haunted Hill, where the house is actually a disused mental hospital haunted by a malign presence represented by an inky black shape which is anatomically suggestive and (almost) perfectly symmetrical. It’s a striking image for a monster, very fitting for its setting without needing to explain it.

There are also quite a few you could borrow as alien invader helmet (or face) designs.

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