Collage House instantiates the abstract and universal formative process in a physical location that “holds” it, while translating this process into an enactive model that enables it to function as a vehicle for idiosyncratic personal expression. The images at stake in the Red Room are collage maker's own images; the signs generated in the Yellow Room are collage maker's own signs; the concepts produced in the Blue Room are the collage maker's concepts.

At the same time, the house provides spaces among which the supplies required by the collage process can be allocated. (Roll-over image; click Psychoformative Gyre for enlarged view.)


“The house quite obviously, is a privileged entity for a phenomenological study of the intimate values of inside space, provided, of course, that we take it in both its unity and its complexity, and endeavor to integrate all the special values in one fundamental value. For the house furnishes us dispersed images and a body of images at the same time. A sort of attractilon for images concentrates them about the house.

The normal unconscious knows how to make itself at home everywhere, and psychoanalysis comes to the assistance of the ousted unconscious, of the unconscious that has been roughly or insidiously dislodged. But psychoanalysis sets the human being in motion, rather than at rest. It calls on him to live outside the abodes of his unconscious, to enter into life's adventures, to come out of himself. And naturally, its action is a salutary one. Because we must also give an exterior destiny to the interior being. To accompany psychoanalysis in this salutary action, we should have to undertake a topoanalysis of all the space that has invited us to come out of ourselves.”


—Gaston Bachelard
The Poetics of Space,
1958


“Rites of passing through the door…are transition rites… A rite of spatial passage has become a rite of spiritual passage…

To cross the threshold is to unite oneself with a new world. It is thus an important act in [rituals of psychological, and spiritual development].”


—A. van Gennep
The Rites of Passage,
1908/60


“Every ritual has a divine model, an archetype…

The conception underlying [ancient] curative rituals seems to be the following: life cannot be repaired, it can only be recreated through symbolic repetition of the cosmogony, for… the cosmogony is the paradigmatic model for all creation.…What is involved is, in short, a return to the original time, the therapeutic purpose of which is to begin life once again, a symbolic rebirth…”

— Mircea Eliade
Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return, 1954


“One thing is sure, a more alive ritual will not be born without pangs and anguish. Birth, and growth, and change are what cause most of the ache of existence. As Ernst Barlach, the artist, wrote, ‘I once remarked to you that there is a law that no work can turn out successfully unless it goes through a series of crises that deepen and spiritualize it’.”

—Edward Fisher

“Ritual as Communication,” in James Shaughnessy, ed., Roots of Ritual, 1973


“What is important is that man has felt the need to reproduce the cosmogony in his constructions, whatever be their nature; that this reproduction made him contemporary with the mythical moment of the beginning of the world and that he felt the need of returning to that moment, as often as possible, in order to regenerate himself… To listen to the recital of the birth of the world is to become the contemporary of the creative act par excellence, the cosmogony.”

— Mircea Eliade
The Sacred and the Profane, 1957


“This work takes matters out of life and makes them into soul, at the same time feeding soul each night with new material. It is like the worldwide parctice, especially Egyptian, of putting objects into the tombs of the dead. Their whole world was transferred with them. They had to have immense supplies, for psychic life is an unending process, needing ample materials.”

—James Hillman

The Dream and the Underworld, 1979


“Every creation springs from an abundance… an overflow of energy. Creation is accomplished by a surplus of ontological substance.”

—Mircea Eliade
The Sacred and the Profane, 1957


“The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.… Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Circles”


“There are a few further points which we ought to note. In the first place, we must remember that we live our childhood as our future. Our childhood determines gestures and roles in the perspective of what is to come. This is not a question of the mechanical reappearance of montages… [The] gestures and roles are inseparable from the project which transforms them… For this reason a life develops in spirals; it passes again and again by the same points but at different levels of integration and complexity.”

—J.-P. Sartre
“The Progressive-Regressive Method,” Search for a Method, 1960/63


“No one [Freud] announced, lives in the real world. We occupy a space of our own creation—a collage compounded of bits and pieces of actuality arranged into a design determined by our internal perceptions, our hopes, our fears, our memories, and our anticipations.”

—Willard Galin
Feelings, 1979


“Freud’s world of thought lacked the formative principle which could set the spirit free to recover its sense of freedom within the necessity proper to itself… If the dissociated tradition has damaged the development of an individual, the unitary method of thought can be used to facilitate the regenerative porcesses which are latent in every organism.… A true therapeutic method will attract rather than repel the mildly unhealthy.”

—Lancelot Law Whyte

The Next Development in Man, 1944


“…the ‘operations’ I experience in making my collages have proved to be the models for what I do and for much of what I have done with just about all the bits and pieces and stuff and things and events and occasions of the entire life I live.”

—Donald Weismann
“The Collage as Model,“ 1969


“Slowly I began to formulate what I still consider to be the fundamental fact about learning: What an individual can learn, and how he learns it, depends on what models he has available… Anything is easy if you can assimilate it to your collection of models. If you can‘t, anything can be painfully difficult.”

—Seymour Papert
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, 1980


The collage process is intensely physical, both in its enlistment of bodily action and in the substantial material weight of the supplies it requires. The rationale for this physicality is two-fold. First, in theoretical terms, the physicality of the collage process permits the method to reflect the trajectory of bodily movement and involvement with the world through which sensori-motor, perceptual acts are absorbed into schemes of mental representation and language.

Second, from a cultural point of view, the method’s materiality immerses the collage-maker in an image-overload analogous to that which characterizes modern life. The cultural background, established by the historical setting beyond the walls of the clinic, must itself be represented within the communicational medium of a depth-psychological method that seeks to accomplish in the present cultural setting what psychoanalysis sought to do in its own formative period. Image-overload and commensurately weakened ego-functioning correspond to what Freud perceived to be the chief threat to the development of personal autonomy in his day: paternal stringency, internalized as superego guilt, and represented in Freud’s method by the predominance of the voice.