Practice:

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Weaving throughout The Interior are repeating images that Hughes has drawn from the case studies that Freud made of his patients during his development of psychoanalysis as a treatment. What we see in the motifs on the fabrics and floor coverings designed by Hughes, are the key images that appeared in the symptoms of these individuals, and the dreams that they recalled during analysis sessions. In Freudian psychoanalysis dreams and their content offer keys to our unconsciousness and expose our ‘inner selves’ – they capture our desires, repressions, and conflicts. The fragments of a dream that are recalled by the patient is the ‘manifest content’. The meanings ascribed to this content is arrived at via interpretation with the analyst and is termed the ‘latent content’. Freud published the details of his patient’s therapy in the early twentieth century as case studies under pseudonyms. Freud used their experiences as an index for the broader human psyche, providing the raw data for his developing theories. Anna O is a case first discussed by Freud and Breuer in Studies on Hysteria (1895). Anna O became ill while nursing her ailing father, with symptoms manifesting as involuntary eye movements, hydrophobia, paralysis, lethargy, and language difficulties. She also experienced hallucinations such as skeletons and black snakes. She revealed these in her consultations with Breuer, who would come to emphasise her talking out of past traumas and registering their unconscious ideas as the way to recovery. This process became the blueprint for the ‘talking cure’. An image of hypnosis appears on one of Hughes’s rugs taken from Didi Huberman’s ‘Invention of Hysteria’. Hypnosis was used by Freud as a means of gaining access to the unconscious, in time he replaced this method with free association. The repeated images of rats are drawn from Freud’s Notes Upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis (1909). His patient is nicknamed ‘the rat man’ for his nightmarish preoccupations with rats. He is the first patient that Freud claims to have ‘cured’ through psychoanalysis. The design of Hughes’s rat rug also references the Smyrna rug that Freud draped across his consulting couch, he had received it as an engagement present from his brother-in-law. The geometric design of this famous textile forms the base of many of the patterns in The Interior – the couch upholstery, the Baubo rug, the wall banner. The wolf man case study forms the focus of another of Hughes’s rugs. Its image is drawn from a haunting childhood dream of Segei Pankejeff, who the night before his fourth birthday dreamt that he was lying in bed when all of a sudden the window swung open. Peering out, he saw six or seven white wolves sitting in the tree outside his bedroom, their eyes fixed on him. Terrified by their gaze, he woke up screaming. Dora was a patient diagnosed with hysteria by Freud in 1900, one of the key dreams Freud interprets in making his assessment of Dora is the dream of a burning house: “a house was on fire. My father was standing beside my bed and woke me up. I dressed quickly. Mother wanted to stop and save her jewel-case; but Father said: 'I refuse to let myself and my two children be burnt for the sake of your jewel-case.' We hurried downstairs, and as soon as I was outside I woke up.”