Wednesday 14 June 2017


Informed by the creative dotage of poet Justinus Kerner when he spilt ink in his notebook and was inspired to versify on the intriguing smudges, Hermann Rorschach as a young child was fascinated with this technique and earned the nickname “Klecks”—German for inkblot.
The chain of development of klecksography from poetry to psychological tool to study the subconscious did enjoy an intermediate phase as an international popular pastime, we learn from Atlas Obscura, just a few years after the publication of Kerner’s book of poems with a pamphlet instructing people how to create shadow-pictures or gobolinks for festive occasions and use the resulting image (tellingly, taken as monstrous mostly) as a writing-prompt. Similar to a test in word association or talking therapy but with a visual media, a patient’s interpretation of the stains is a way to access involuntary imagination and probe impulses not yet manifest came about in 1921 when Rorschach was studying Sigmund Freud’s theories on dream symbolism and was reminded of his childhood hobby.