Richard Roe is the fictional memoir of a legal person. The name is one of the oldest used in English law when the real name of someone is withheld, or when a corpse can’t be identified, Richard Roe is a known unknown, a one-size-fits-all, a potentially everyone and actually no one.
Divided into seven fragmentary sections, this memoir gives voice to the legal fictions that creep around the margins of selfhood—and that increasingly dictate the terms of economic and political process. It draws on numerous concepts of personhood from legal, psychological, linguistic, and metaphysical realms, including ancient Roman juridical theory; medieval writings on materialism; and arguments, of the last two centuries, for the legal personhood of corporations, rivers, and other elements of the natural world. [publisher’s note]
That book is part of a multi-part project by New York-based artist and writer Tyler Coburn, commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and curated by Cory Scozzari, As part of this project, Coburn has legally named an orchid hybrid Aranda Richard Roe.