Shop > Artists' Books

Out of Stock

'Pataphysics: A Useless Guide

MIT Press
Artists' Books
16 × 23.5 × 2 cm

Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, ‘pataphysics—the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions—has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating in the wild imagination of French poet and playwright Alfred Jarry and his schoolmates, resisting clear definition, purposefully useless, and almost impossible to understand, ‘pataphysics nevertheless lies around the roots of Absurdism, Dada, futurism, surrealism, situationism, and other key cultural developments of the twentieth century. In this account of the evolution and influence of ‘pataphysics, Andrew Hugill offers an informed exposition of a rich and difficult territory, staying aloft on a tightrope stretched between the twin dangers of oversimplifying a serious subject and taking a joke too seriously.

Drawing on more than twenty-five years’ research, Hugill maps the ‘pataphysical presence (partly conscious and acknowledged but largely unconscious and unacknowledged) in literature, theater, music, the visual arts, and the culture at large, and even detects ‘pataphysical influence in the social sciences and the sciences. He offers many substantial excerpts (in English translation) from primary sources, intercalated with a thorough explication of key themes and events of ‘pataphysical history. In a Jarryesque touch, he provides these in reverse chronological order, beginning with a survey of ‘pataphysics in the digital age and working backward to Jarry and beyond. He looks specifically at the work of Jean Baudrillard, Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, J. G. Ballard, Asger Jorn, Gilles Deleuze, Roger Shattuck, Jacques Prévert, Antonin Artaud, René Clair, the Marx Brothers, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Raymond Roussel, Jean-Pierre Brisset, and many others.

  1. ’Pataphysics: A Useless Guide

Related Items

  1. Claudia La Rocco: The Best Most Useless Dress
  2. The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds
  3. Nicosia This Week: An Unofficial Guide to the Biennial that Never Was
  4. Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art in the 21st Century
  5. Kevin Schmidt: How to Make a Large Format Photograph of the Horizon from the Edge of Space
  6. Daniel Olson: Ontarion Arts Council, meeting new challenges
  7. Daniel Olson: Cinematheque Ontario
  8. Ellie Irons: Feral Hues: A Guide To Painting With Weeds
  9. Jingyuan Huang: The Confucius City and its Museum
  10. Ryan Kerr: On Growin’ Up…a guide
  11. I was happy then
  12. Michael Snow: October 114
  13. October 145: Summer 2013
  14. OCTOBER 146 - Fall 2013
  15. OCTOBER 147 - Winter 2014
  16. Kodwo Eshun: Dan Graham: Rock My Religion
  17. October 148
  18. Anna Dezeuze: Thomas Hirschhorn: Deleuze Monument (Hardcover)
  19. October Magazine Issue 149
  20. October Magazine Issue 151
  21. October Magazine Issue 152
  22. October Magazine Issue 153
  23. October Magazine Issue 154
  24. Amanda Boetzkes: Plastic Capitalism
  25. Susan Schuppli: Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence
  26. Sarah Cook: Information
  27. Gwen Allen: The Magazine
  28. Claire Bishop: Participation
  29. Stefanie Hessler: Prospecting Ocean
  30.  Larissa Hjorth, Sarah Pink, Kristen Sharp, and Linda Williams: Screen Ecologies
  31. Olafur Eliasson: Surroundings Surrounded: Essays on Space and Science
  32. Douglas Gordon
  33. On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1957-1972
  34. Hans Haacke: Unfinished Business
  35. William Mitchell: The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era
  36. Richard Bolton: The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography
  37. Masanao Hirayama: 88 Constellations
  38. Bill Burns: 0800.0FAUNA0FLORA