The Real Unconscious

Two-day International Conference 13-14 July 2019.


The Real Unconscious

13 & 14 July 2019
Treacy Centre, Parkville
International conference of the Lacan Circle of Australia


This conference welcomes offers of papers that explore the clinical implications of the real unconscious. Please send title and brief abstract for a 30-minute paper by Friday 3 May to Preference will be given to papers on clinical topics related to the conference theme. Papers on non-clinical topics will also be considered.


Keynote: Alexandre Stevens,

Alexandre Stevens is vice-president of the New Lacanian School and Analyst Member of the New Lacanian School (NLS) and of the Ecole de la Cause freudienne (ECF). He is the founder and therapeutic director of Le Courtil, an institution for the psychoanalytic treatment of children located in Belgium; and former president of the NLS and the ECF. Trained in psychiatry, Stevens practises psychoanalysis in Brussels and teaches in the Clinical Section. He is the founding editor of Quarto and has published extensively in publications of the Freudian Field.


The unconscious is real, Lacan declares in his final text.[1] Not symbolic, but real. Where and how do we detect this real, the bits of real, fragments of the real, in our clinical experience? How is this reflected in analysis?

Does it make us rethink interpretation? There are different approaches to interpretation in Lacan’s teaching: deciphering, punctuation, the cut, and so on. As Lacan taught, a symptom is a metaphor whose ultimate reference point is the paternal metaphor. But deciphering a symptom to reveal its signification only causes it to hold even more tenaciously to the jouissance it harbours. Indeed, truth and jouissance are not opposites but sisters. The concept of punctuation refers to interpretation as a symbolic operation, one that reconfigures meaning and the emergence of truth. The cut is construed as a way to produce an enigma that puts the subject to work; but an enigma is an ab-sense, and thus a related to sense. An equivoque equivocates over meaning. What are the implications for the practice of analysis?

If the unconscious is real, none of these semantic issues – truth and meaning – touch the real sources of jouissance. By virtue of the fact that it speaks, the human animal’s relationship to its body and thought are fundamentally disturbed. Jouissance, this always dysfunctional jouissance, is the human animal’s cause; it causes it to speak, to think, to desire and act.


Russell Grigg

President, LCA



[1] See his “Preface to the English Edition of Seminar XI”, trans. R. Grigg, The Lacanian Review no. 6 (2018), 23.