Royal Road to the Unconscious – Video

Photograph: Daniel Jackson, 2002

The Royal Road to the Unconscious from Simon Morris on Vimeo.

The aleatory moment (223,704 words traveling at 90mph).

1st June 2003

(This short video documents the crux in the performance for the eponymous book, published by iam in 2003.)

The Royal Road to the Unconscious was conceived by the artist Simon Morris in order to conduct an experiment on Sigmund Freud’s writing. Utilising Ed Ruscha’s book Royal Road Test as a readymade set of instructions, Morris recruited seventy-eight students cut out every single word from Sigmund Freud’s seminal publication, Interpretation of Dreams. On Sunday, June 1st, 2003, the artist, Simon Morris (thrower) threw the words out of the window of a Renault Clio Sport on Redbridge Road, Crossways, Dorset, travelling at a speed of 90mph (in order to access the unconscious, it may be necessary to transcend the national speed limit), approximately 122 miles southwest of Freud’s psychoanalytical couch in London.

This action freed the words from the structural unity of Freud’s text by subjecting them to an ‘aleatory moment’ – a seemingly random act of utter madness. Daniel Jackson (filmmaker), Maurizio Cogliandro (photographer), and Dallas Seitz (photographer) documented the action as 222,704 words erupted from the window of the car. They also recorded the stream of words strewn along the side of the road. Dr. Howard Britton, a psychoanalyst (driver), directed them through the scene of distribution to any slippages or eruptions of the real that occurred in the reconfigured text.

The poetic act of liberating Freud’s text allows us to engage with Jacques Lacan’s register of the Real. The concept of the Real is far removed from anything that we conventionally attribute to reality. It is the experience of a world without language. If language names, it is all that escapes the name – an encounter beyond images and words.

I received The Royal Road to the Unconscious this morning: most, most beautiful. I love it.”

– Professor Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, Philosophy department, University of the Sorbonne, Paris, France

It’s time has come I think and you did it well.”

– Ed Ruscha

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