On the pitfalls and perils of publishing/poubellication: some lessons from the field

This paper will present the results of a field study that was inspired by the theories of Maleval on the functions of writing for the psychotic subject. More particularly, we wanted to find out to what extent these theories remain valid in the specific context of Villa Voortman, a non-residential meeting place for people with double diagnosis (psychosis and drug abuse) in Ghent (Belgium), where a substantial part of the visitors is engaged in writing. While the study confirmed the three major functions of writing as identified by Maleval (depositing of excess jouissance through the physical act of writing, pouring enjoyment into signifiers, and dumping excess jouissance through publishing), a fourth and major function emerged: the identification with an artist. It is reasonable to suggest that this is a particular effect of Villa Voortman’s policy to facilitate and stimulate subjects to build up an identity beyond their psychiatric label.