Apr 082009

Slowscan TV Objects Found In Blakes 7 & Doctor Who Soundtracks” reads the headline (with no question mark!).

You can decide for yourself whether the maker of the video “has found what appear to be thousands of images of peoples faces in a special effect” or whether this is a case of pareidolia – that is, of noise being experienced as signal, of randomness being interpreted as information.

Faces may be seen on photos of Mars and the Virgin Mary may be seen on a cheese sandwich… Many examples can be found to illustrate the phenomenon.

In the audio realm, hidden messages may be heard in pop songs when they are played backwards and be attributed to “backmasking“… and some researchers into Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) may be convinced that the noise in audio recordings is haunted by the voices of the dead.

We might reflect on whether much of the “meaning” we extract from music was ever put there in the first place… and on whether perhaps some of the most intriguing music is that which obscures the boundary between randomness and message?

 Posted by on April 8, 2009