|Frames, construction paper, 2014|
What it is: According to my daughter, they are picture frames. She cut pieces of construction paper and glued them onto other pieces of construction paper. She said she did not know how she chose which colors should go together; instead, she just started gluing. Each piece is about 10X10, and it is a pretty spectacular site in person. The colors are vivid and bold. It is well balanced, and the shapes jump out at the viewer. The brain makes them into a series of perfect squares, but they are all clearly different.
Our plan is to attach them to a canvas and hang them in our house.
What you thought it was: Every week, I think, "No one is going to be able to do anything with this. I have finally stumped everyone!" And, that is never the case. In fact, I received a record number of responses this week, all of which I retweeted. By the end of the day, I think I also received 10 unfollows, presumably from people who were highly annoyed by my hijacking of their Twitter feed for the entire day.
I was wondering if most people would have difficulty looking past the literal nature of this picture. After all, it really is just a bunch of squares of paper with no definitive form demand. And as suspected, the most common response was a fairly literal one.
Normally, a response such as, "A group of squares with different colored squares glued to them" would come from a person who uses intellectualization as a defense mechanism. Rather than looking past the literal to expose a person's creativity, the intellectualizer will hide behind a logical process to keep from becoming too vulnerable in front of others. In this case however, I think the high number of literal responses had to do with the abstract nature of the picture rather than a lack of vulnerability (Friday Rorschachers have proven to me on numerous occasions that they are not afraid of showing their vulnerable side).
Here are a few literal responses:
@mwachtel colored papers cut to various sizes and shapes?
— John Gehrke (@j_gehrke) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Kindergarten project.
— Sage Autumn (@sageautumn) March 7, 2014
The next most common response was food. On the real Rorschach, food responses sometimes indicate a desire to deal with immediate need states as soon as they are experienced. For example, someone who is hungry and has a strong need to deal with his/her hunger as soon as possible will see food everywhere. Think of Loony Toons cartoons where one hungry character looks at another hungry character, whose head magically turns into a chicken leg.
There is also a psychoanalytic theory that people who see food in abstract shapes are overly dependent on others for emotional support. I'm not sure I completely agree with that theory--it seems equally possible that people who see food are nurturing and want to provide sustenance to others:
@mwachtel Pastries! It's always food for me.
— MissBumptious (@missbumptious) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Waffles with yummy toppings. Can you tell its morning here in Los Angeles?
— Dr.Stephanie Mihalas (@askdrstephanie) March 7, 2014
A number of people used the repeating pattern in the picture to place a form demand onto it:
@mwachtel future tic tac toe game
— Sara E. Miller (@SaraMillerCO) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Quilting practice starts early in the Wachtel household:) #FridayRorschach
— Fiona (@Mistress_Fiona) March 7, 2014
Several of you created stories:
@mwachtel someone bit into my art project for spite but I had to turn it in to get better than an F for being late
— bMi2 (@bMi2) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel According to international maritime signal flags, Belize is about to be plundered. Hold on to your doubloons! #FridayRorschach
— Bret Higgins (@DeadBeatBert) March 7, 2014
A few of you came up with art comparisons (which my daughter thought was awesome):
@mwachtel Cubist take on Kandinsky's Circles
— Cait Morgan (@caitdocmorgan) March 7, 2014
@dagmarebaugh @mwachtel Budding Rothko
— Sally Price (@saspist) March 7, 2014
|The artist, examining a Rothko|
@mwachtel Arial view of colorful, flat-top pyramids.
— The Center (@CenterMH) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel house in the middle of yards, streets. boring colors, nothing matches, nobody is happy. Except Purple who started it all
— Justin Shinohara (@JustinShinohara) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Aerial view of a colorful downtown area.
— Michael Cumpton (@mccumpton) March 7, 2014
And then there were the creative responses:
@mwachtel the contents of this guys summer wardrobe... pic.twitter.com/TSLsGk1scC
— John Cunningham (@TheJohnSherman) March 7, 2014
.@mwachtel Cannibalism amidst construction paper 😳 #FridayRorschach
— Lauren Evans (@yeslaurenevans) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Doors in life to choose from & a visible warning NOT to take that bottom right one! Or maybe to take it..? Hmm.. #FridayRorschach
— Facenna (@Facenna) March 7, 2014
@mwachtel Purple on the corner. Views the River sunrise, sunset. Everything matches in that season. @JustinShinohara
— bMi2 (@bMi2) March 7, 2014
@sageautumn @mwachtel Elevator buttons for the apathetic?
— Cindy Potts (@CBPotts) March 7, 2014
You've got to love the serendipity of this one:
@mwachtel @9NEWS like the mirrors on my wall? pic.twitter.com/1KmSmhjEjV
— smitmarv (@smitmarv) March 7, 2014
And finally, my favorite for the week:
@mwachtel partridge family bus in abstract
— patricia (@pppatticake) March 7, 2014
What you might have missed: Sparkles! No one used the sparkles in their responses, although it was tough to see them in the original picture. Those sparkles are all over our house, by the way.
Here is an up-close view:
One last thought: Some of you add a question mark to the end of your response. As in, "A series of transistors on a microchip?" There is no need to be tentative about your responses. If you see something, you see it. Be bold!
Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.
Friday Rorschach is a fun project designed to engage readers' creativity. To participate, follow Max on twitter. He posts the drawing every Friday morning around 10am ET/8am MT. There are no wrong answers to the Friday Rorschach.