'Pataphysics Unrolled

Join us for an evening of pataphysical conversation and fun to celebrate the publication of 'Pataphysics Unrolled


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies

Organizing Institutions



Katie Price, Michael Taylor

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

  • Pataphysic

Slought is pleased to announce 'Pataphysics Unrolled, an evening of pataphysical conversation and fun to celebrate the publication of 'Pataphysics Unrolled, on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 5-6:30pm. 'Pataphysics Unrolled is a new publication edited by Katie L. Price and Michael R. Taylor for the Reconfiguring Modernism Series of Penn State University Press. Price and Taylor will be joined at Slought by contributors Jean-Michel Rabaté and John Heon to discuss the book, its origins in Philadelphia, and the future of pataphysics in the context of crises of health, safety, and freedom. 20 complimentary copies of 'Pataphysics Unrolled will be available to those for whom purchasing a copy would be a hardship.

Could a city of blubber be the solution to the environmental crisis? Could un-academies offer a truly accessible form of higher education? What texts are our bodies writing, and what could we learn by reading them? When one can look up anything, how might we design computations that maintain a sense of wonder and discovery in the online realm? In an academic setting, a pataphysical reference runs the risk of registering as a mere joke. As George Perec explains: "If physics proposes: 'You have a brother and he likes cheese,' then metaphysics replies: 'If you have a brother, he likes cheese,' But 'pataphysics says: 'You don't have a brother and he likes cheese.'" George Perec's tongue-in-cheek definition avoids the fallacy of trying to define pataphysics rationally. After all, 'pataphysics is most often glossed as simply "the science of imaginary solutions."

'Pataphysics Unrolled presents itself as an "imaginary solution" to the riddle of what is arguably the most important sentence of Jarry's most important work, and the book's epigraph: "And behold, the wallpaper of Faustroll's body was unrolled by the saliva and teeth of the water. // Like a musical score, all art and all science were written in the curves of the limbs of the ultrasexagenarian ephebe, and their progression to an infinite degree was prophesied therein." We interpret these lines by offering texts that expand, explicate, and embody Jarry's lines in critical, creative and speculative ways, demonstrating how pataphysics has indeed infiltrated a remarkable range of arts and sciences. While the humor in the claim that this volume brings together "all art and all science" is not lost on us, the volume does seek to highlight the spectrum of pataphysical influence in art, literature, science, and technology. This volume collects essays that re-examine and re-embody pataphysics; it is an unrolling of pataphysical experimentation from Jarry to the present day. As an improvisational musician would interpret a musical score, the essays showcase the myriad ways in which Jarry's foundational ideas have been, can be, and perhaps should be played.

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In a quite real sense, pataphysics was always meant to evolve—never remaining static, but rather signifying a way of radically challenging existing paradigms of thought and conventional forms of consciousness. This volume considers pataphysics as a mode of aesthetic inquiry that purposefully disrupts academic, institutionalized, and normative means of knowledge production and serves as a potential way to radically reimagine our realities.

Essays explore 'pataphysics origins in fin de siecle Paris, its influence across the globe, and its contemporary influence on fields as diverse as architecture, ecocriticism, computing, and higher education.

To learn more, download Katie L. Price's introductory chapter, "Unrolled by the Saliva and Teeth of the Water," or visit Penn State University Press.

"Art is the way I live."

-- James E. Brewton, The American Dream-Girl, 1965

Related projects
Begins Mar 21, 2014

A series of programs exploring the past, present and future of Pataphysics - the "science of the particular" - in Philadelphia and beyond

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