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Pataphysics

Flanagann’s life long obsession with Alfred Jarry, the French playwright, and Jarry’s philosophy of ‘pataphysics.

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Title:Pataphysics

Blurb: Flanagan’s life long preoccupation with Alfred Jarry’s philosophy of ‘pataphysics’

It began after he was given a (this?) copy of the Evergreen Review titled 'What is 'Pataphysics?' by a poet friend Nick Wayte.

TWO COLUMN TEXT WITH IMAGE What absorbed Flanagan about ’pataphysics was how it presented the unquantifiable nature of existence and the juxtaposition of paradox and the absurd. It fed his interest in Concrete Poetry and the manner in which he titled his works. These have a linguistic sensibility and suggest diverse avenues for interpretation.

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(O for orange U for you: poem for the lips)

What absorbed Flanagan about ’pataphysics was how it presented the unquantifiable nature of existence and the juxtaposition of paradox and the absurd. It fed his interest in Concrete Poetry and the manner in which he titled his works. These have a linguistic sensibility and suggest diverse avenues for interpretation.

Flanagan first performed his silent lip poem at the opening of the OXPO 2nd International Exhibition of Experimental Poetry at St Catherines College, Cambridge. Here’s the piece reproduced as ‘(O for orange U for you: poem for the lips)’ in his magazine Silâns, issue 15, June 1965.

Made when Flanagan was a student, N’existe pas 1964 is negatively emblazoned in paint along one of the edges of the constructed sculpture. Clearly the sculpture exists, but perhaps what is being considered is on what terms does it not exist.
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Author

Pataphysics, is properly denoted with the apostrophe before the letter p, as if to close a previous speech mark and therefore mark a metaphorical circularity, or to put it another way, an ending before a beginning. This circularity of intention is a primary characteristic of pataphysical thinking and the spiral form is used frequently.

The destabilising of the psychological and emotional barriers between actor and audience in Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi are crucial in understanding ‘pataphysics whereby distinctions between internal feelings and interiority with external effects become blurred. This is represented in the use of the spiral form, which denotes the dual possibility of presence and absence. The drawn spiral indicates two spirals, one is absent or negative, to the other’s positive presence. It denotes energy and can be found on the monstrous belly of Ubu.

Flanagan gave a speech on the occasion of the presentation of the Themerson Ubu masks at the Ivy restaurant, musing on biography, conceptual sculpture, theatre, the making of film and authorship with mention of Jasia Reichardt’s encouragement

Flanagan’s use of the hare motif attracted the attention of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, they wrote to ask if he could design a stamp using the hare because a hare stamp is used as a ’pataphysical award for those in advance of paying their phynance. The suggestion was to make a silhouette of a leaping hare.[1] Flanagan instead provided an image of ‘frog hare’. It is a morphological transformation between reptile and mammal. The creature was set against a green background and the choice of colour has specific symbolic resonance for pataphysics, the ‘green candle’ represents vitality and sexuality. The image of the ‘frog hare’ was used to design a stamp and Flanagan was appointed to the society, joining Dario Fo, Umberto Eco and Jean Baudrillard, whose commemorative stamps were made for the society at the same time.

Test quote text Flanagan’s use of the hare motif attracted the attention of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, they wrote to ask if he could design a stamp using the hare because a hare stamp is used as a ’pataphysical award for those in advance of paying their phynance. The suggestion was to make a silhouette of a leaping hare. Flanagan instead provided
Alfred Widmann
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