There are personal inscriptions on roads and sidewalks everywhere – artworks, romantic longings, political rants – and yet this kind of graffiti often goes unnoticed. In this article I peruse the pavements to see what the writing there might reveal. I find that, like the graffiti on vertical surfaces, pavement inscriptions are declarations of identity, but they often lack a sense of deliberate subversiveness. Many have been written by ordinary people overcome by some momentary preoccupation, but their choice of pavement as canvas is not arbitrary. It seems that beneath the everyday world there is another one, familiar but strangely distorted like reflections on a wet roadway. My explorations suggest that pavement inscriptions float on the surface between these two worlds. Like marker buoys they indicate the presence of unconscious aspirations and anxieties submerged below.
- collective unconscious