Simon Morris
The Royal Road to the Unconscious


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, seventy-eight students cut out every single word from Sigmund Freud’s 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, approximately 122 miles southwest of Freud’s psychoanalytical couch. The action freed the words from the structural unity of Freud’s text as it subjected them to an ‘aleatory moment’ – a seemingly random act of utter madness.

Daniel Jackson (filmmaker) and 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 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, University of the Sorbonne, Paris, France

“It’s time has come I think and you did it well.” – Ed Ruscha

Published by information as material
16×24 cm, 80 pages, black and white, 2003
Edition of 750
£15; $25.00CAD

Available from information as material

Simon Morris is a conceptual writer. His work appears in the form of exhibitions, publications, installations, films, actions and texts which all revolve around the form of the book. His investigations involve working in collaboration with many other people from art, creative technology, literature and psychoanalysis. He exhibits internationally and has shown projects at; The Freud Museum in London, England; Printed Matter in New York, USA; Johan Deumens Gallery in Haarlem, The Netherlands; The Vox Centre for Contemporary Image in Montreal, Canada; Art Metropole in Toronto, Canada. In 2005 his work was selected by Érika Fraenkel and Carlo Sansolo for The First Festival of Media and Electronic Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and by Gustav Metzger for East International, Norwich, England. Morris holds a PhD in Contemporary Art Practice from the University of Leeds and a Masters in Contemporary Art and Theory from Winchester School of Art. His work has been championed  by Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, acknowledged expert on artists’ publications and Professor in Philosophy at the Sorbonne (she included his work in the survey exhibition Looking, Telling, Thinking, Collecting: four directions of the artist’s book from the Sixties to the present and in a six page article in ‘Les artistes contemporains et la philosophie’ for revue d’esthétique in France) and Anne Dorothee Boehme from the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (who wrote an article on his work, ‘(Intentionally) Scattered Thoughts’ for Art on Paper in the USA). He has received repeat funding from Arts Council England, The British Council and The Henry Moore Foundation.

information as material was established in 2002 to publish work by artists who use extant material – selecting and reframing it to generate new meanings – and who, in doing so, disrupt the existing order of things.