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Printer Friendly Version 1000 Days of Theory: td048
Date Published: 1/4/2007
www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=569
Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, Editors

1000 DAYS OF THEORY



Pataphysics


Jean Baudrillard

Translated by Drew Burk


Ubu, the caricatural and gaseous state, the lower intestine and the splendor of the void. Because, here everything is stucco and fake... even a tree made of wood -- and this intense bluff that facilitates the rising of the dough of phenomenon -- nothing prevents that this catabase towards the stucco and the fake and the blah began well before the form that so-called true objects have taken today... and that everything, before being born, was at the cancerous and imaginary state -- can only be born at the cancerous and imaginary state -- which doesn't prevent things from being less false than we think -- that is to say...

Pataphysics is the highest temptation of the spirit. The horror of ridicule and necessity lead to an enormous infatuation, the enormous flatulence of Ubu.

The pataphysical spirit is the nail in the tire -- the world, a wolf's mouth (lupo vesce). La gidouille is also a hot-air balloon, a nebulous or even a perfect sphere of knowledge -- the intestinal sphere of the sun. There is nothing to take away from death. Does a tire die? It renders its tire soul. Flatulence is at the origin of the breath.

The idea is to turn it back on itself, it is in this fashion that reality is demolished. In the opinonatedness of Ubu, our will, importance, faith, all the things that are carried to paroxysm where we perceive quite naturally that they are made up of breaths from our flatulence, from meat which we make the candles and ashes, from bone with which we make false ivory and false universes. It is not ridicule. It's an inflation, the brusque passage into an empty space, which is the thought of no one, cause there is not pataphysical thought, there is only pataphysical acid which sours and embaums like milk, swollen like a drowning victim et deflragrer like a greenish-blue truffle of the brains of Palotin. Pataphysics: philosophy of the gaseous state. It can only be defined in a new undiscovered language because too obvious: tautology. Better: it can only define itself by its own term, thus: it doesn't exist. It turns around and around and rehashes the same half-assed incongruence, smiling stupidly, from girolles and decayed dreams.

The rules of the pataphysical game are far more dastardly than any other. It is a narcissism of death, a deadly eccentricity. The world is an inane protuberance, an empty jack-off, a delirium of stucco and cardboard. But Artaud, who thinks as such, thinks that from this brandished sex of nothingness can one day spring forth a true sperm, only from a caricatural existence can a theatre of cruelty surge forth, that is to say, a real virulence. While, Pataphysics, however, does not believe in the sexual organ, or the theatre. There is facade and nothing else. The ventroloquicity of the bladder and lanterns is absolute. All things are infatuated, imaginary, an edema, crab meat, une nenie. There is not even a means to be born or to die. This is reserved for the rock, meat, blood, for all which has weight. Now, for Pataphysics, all phenomena are absolutely gaseous. Even the recognition of this state, even the knowledge of farting and purity, and coitus, because nothing is serious... and the conscience of this conscience etc. Without goal, without soul, without sentences, and itself being imaginary, but nonetheless necessary, the pataphysical paradox is to die, quite simply. If, Artaud pushed to the edge by the renewed void in front and around him, did not kill himself, it is because he believed in an incarnation somewhere, in a birth, in a sexuality, in a drama. The whole on a trestle of cruelty, since reality could not receive it there was a gamble, and Artaud's hope is immense. The confines of the bladder had an odor of a Chinese lantern. Ubu, himself, blew out all the lanterns with his big fart. And what's more, he was convincing. He convinced every one of nothingness and constipation. He proves that we are an intestinal complication of the lord and of the limbs, that when he has farted, and you see yourself, it shall be resolved, everything will be in order. We are nothing else, but at the perpetual state of flatulence, the notion of reality is given to us by a certain abdominal concentration of the wind which has not yet been released. The gods and mornings that sing are issued from this obscene gas, accumulated since the world is world and since the pyramidal Ubu digests us before expulsing us pataphysically into the void, obscured by the odor of the re-cooled fart, which would be the end of the world and of all possible worlds.

The humor of this story is crueler than that of Artaud who is but a mere idealist. Above all, he is impossible. He proves the impossible of thinking pataphysically without killing yourself. He is, if you will, the ray of an unknown spherical gidouille whose only limits are the imbecility of the sphere, but who becomes infinite like humor once it explodes. From this explosion of the Palotins comes humor, from their naive and fawning manner to return to nature under the form of farts, which believe themselves to be quite conscientious beings, and not just gas, and they give the spark to an incommensurable humor that will shine until the end of the world -- the explosion of Ubu himself. Thus pataphysics is impossible. Must one kill oneself to prove it? Indeed, since it is not serious. But it is exactly this which is its seriousness. Finally, to exalt Pataphysics is to be a pataphysician without knowing it, which is what we are all. Because humor wants humor in regards to humor, etc. Pataphysics is science...

Artaud is the perfect contrast. Artaud wants the revalorisation of creation and wants to put it into the world. He rips away like Soutine from his rotten beef, an image, no longer an idea. He believes that by piercing the abscess of sorcery there will spill a lot of puss, but good god, real blood, and when the entire world will be pantelant, like Soutine's cow, the dramaturge will be able to continue, from our bones, prepare a serious feast where there will no longer be spectators. On the contrary, Pataphysics is ex-sangue and doesn't get itself wet, evolving in a universe of parody, being the reabsorption itself of the spirit, without a trace of blood. And, moreover, all Pataphysical procedures are a vicious circle where, maddening forms, without believing in each other, devour each other like crabs at the edge of a cliff, digesting themselves like stucco buddhas and renders nothing in all its cris-crossing but the fecal sound of a pumice rock and dried ennui.

This is because Pataphysics has reached such a perfection of the game and because it accords little importance to everything that it finally has little of. In themselves, all solennal nullity, all figures of nullites come to fail and petrify themselves before the gorgonal eye of Ubu. In it all things become artificial, venomous, and lead to schizophrenia, by the angels of pink stucco whose limbs rejoin in a curbed mirror. Loyola -- may the world be avarice, provided that I reign over it. If a soul doesn't resist the emprise of volute, of spirals of imprinted vertigo, fixed at the moment of paroxystical tartufferie, when it is delivered to the sumptuous Ubu, whose smile renders everything to its sulfurous inutility and the freshness of latrines...

Such is the unique imaginary solution to the absence of problems.


Acknowledgments and Credits
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The Editors would like to thank François Debrix for his insightful comments on the translation.

"Pataphysics" originally appeared in French as: Jean Baudrillard, Pataphysique. Paris: Sens et Tonka, 2002.

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Jean Baudrillard is an internationally acclaimed theorist whose writings trace the rise and fall of symbollic exchange in the contemporary century. In addition to a wide range of highly influential books from Seduction to Symbolic Exchange and Death, Baudrillard's most recent publications include: The Vital Illusion, The Spirit of Terrorism, The Singular Objects of Architecture, Passwords, The Conspiracy of Art: Manifestos, Texts, Interviews (September 2005) and The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (November 2005). He is a member of the editorial board of CTheory.

Drew Burk studied philosophy, religion and political anthropology at L'Institut D'Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence. He has spent the last 8 years on a nomadic path, living in diverse cultural backdrops such as Sweden, France, and Senegal. His current projects involve constructing a theoretical media hauntology combining, translation, collage, theoretical cut-up eclectic voice phenomenology as well as a Pataphysical exploration into the state beyond theory. Drew Burk is a student at the European Graduate School.

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