Joe Banks is a researcher and sound artist, and founder of the pioneering sonic and visual arts project Disinformation. Initially concerned with exploring the creative potential of noise produced by electromagnetic (ie - radio) phenomena, Disinformation was founded by Joe in 1995, in an era of limited availability of online resources, and of restricted public access to information (Google for instance wasn’t launched until September 1997). Joe’s early research produced CDs, LPs, collaborations, compilation tracks, installations and performances, focussed on VLF and shortwave radio noise, produced by live mains electricity, trains and metro systems, electric storms and even the sun. These interests led to research into the psychology of interpretation of broadcast voices, and to the initiation in 1999 of the influential research art project “Rorschach Audio”.
The focus on psychoacoustics expanded to include interests in mechanisms of auditory and visual perception generally, through illusions of sound, to illusions of language, to speech science and language studies, and work on optical illusions, the psychology of visual space and depth perception, and the role of evolution in the development of perceptual mechanisms and in the origin of language.
Early Disinformation projects also popularised interest in the UK’s extraordinary coastal air-defence “sound mirrors”, and this emphasis on visual imagery led on to sound and light installations such as “The Origin of Painting” and “The Analysis of Beauty”. Disinformation artworks have been described as “actively thrilling” by the Financial Times, as “visually sophisticated” by Art Monthly, as “particularly sensuous” and “fascinating” by The Wire, and as “mesmerising” by Aesthetica magazine. The Sound Projector spoke of Disinformation producing “potent drug-like trances of utter black mysteriousness”, The Guardian described Disinformation creating “some of the most beautiful installations around”, and The Metro newspaper described Disinformation as “the black-ops unit of the avant-garde”.