The Rorschach Asylum


The Rorschach Asylum

Kesong Cui


I seek to explore the artistry of people with schizophrenia as well as attempt to reverse the famous Rorschach inkblot experiment, a schizophrenia diagnostic and intervention tool, into a potential tool for helping people with schizophrenia deal with its symptoms and stimulate their artistic creativity.

Many psychiatrists believe that the Rorschach test possesses the ability to bypass perception to tap into a person’s internal subconscious, a process of examining the disorder of the self. The Rorschach world is the “invisible” world produced by the outward projection of a person’ s perception based on the experience of reality; it is the “world” between the real world and the inner world.

The interpretation of inkblots has been seen as a creative inspiration training tool. Here, ink projections and art therapy constitute a complementary process, with ink promoting creativity and art therapy becoming a substitute for medicine treatment.

This generates the question: How can space be used as a medium to create a Rorschach World, and how can space be used as a medium to project the subconscious and real experiences of schizophrenic patients?



I created some ambiguous visual stimuli in the space that have no specific form, referencing the compositional principles of Rorschach’s inkblots and exploring whether these ambiguities have the ability to trigger self-projection. I attempted to randomly generate a series of symmetrical, ambiguous Rorschach inkblots through parametric software. I then transformed the spatial elements into an ambiguous visual message, my first focus was on furniture, I transformed a chair into a Rorschach inkblot test.





The proposed site is Govanhill Baths, 99 Calder Street, Govanhill, Glasgow, Scotland and is a Scottish Grade B Listed Building.

The walls of the space are set with inkblot patterns generated by parametric software, in the hope of encouraging patients’ self-projection and recording their psychological journeys. A blurred pattern of Rorschach inkblot cards I is printed on the floor in the centre of the space. The patients/artists will register and collect their Rorschach cards, which the subjects can use to mark what they see with fragments of these cards when they see something in the various inked stimuli in the site. The areas where the Rorschach inkblots are printed are set up with grooves into which the cards can be inserted. These cards are collected and assessed by the therapist on completion of the therapy session.



Inside the swimming pool is a surreal art playground, with free-form graffiti rooms set up in various corners of the space and flanked by art materials rooms. The graffiti room and the art materials room are coloured in blue, as research has proven that people with schizophrenia are more inclined to cooler colours.

The entrance on the first floor corridor leads to two Rorschach Rooms, which are independent rooms suspended above the swimming pool, supported by columns and ropes, which I hope to embody the phenomenon of “Rorschach space” that presents a world different from the outside world and the inner world.



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