'Pataphysics & ars combinatoria

The combination of these two concepts just occurred to me. Why now, or why not earlier? Why now? Here's my guess. First, there was my recent reading of Borges' "The Aleph". Then there was reading about Novalis' Romantic Encyclopedia. All of this recapitulates in some way the earlier history from Raymond Lull to Leibniz, but in each epoch the ars combinatoria play a different role. Now, divorced from "serious" purposes, it becomes a device of self-conscious art for making a point without taking the enterprise literally, i.e. for what it purports to be. The ars combinatoria has historically become playful with the delineation between reality and the artifice of imagination. It finally popped into my head to combine one aspect of avant-garde literature with another.

'Pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions, a playful notion concocted by Alfred Jarry. Once science itself has been solidified and differentiated from myth, poetry, and the symbolic use of language, we not only have the possibility of creating symbolist poetry in a secularized environment, and avant-garde play with language and myth (to culminate in Joyce), but play with science and other systems of thought, eventually surrealism and surrationalism (Gaston Bachelard) and Borges, and Oulipo, and now virtuality of all sorts, but first Jarry. Once it occurred to me that Jarry might be engaged in combinatorial play, I connected 'pataphysics to ars combinatoria. Has anyone else made that connection? (Or Jarry himself? I don't recall Jarry's own work.) Well, Oulipo, which is founded on combinatoric play, is a descendent of 'pataphysics, so a connection is obviously there.

Here's what I've found, mostly classifiable under the rubric of avant-garde arts.

Speculative Computing: Instruments for Interpretive Scholarship (2004) by Bethany Paige Nowviskie

Oulipo packet (several works by noted authors: Calvino, Queneau, Motte, Mathews, et al)

Deformography: the poetics of cybridised architecture (2005) by Neil Spiller

The Clinamanic Medusa, with a hole for its face causes the first order aesthetics of form finding to coagulate into stone and seduces the viewer into a world of vicissitudes and attitudes of chance, of joy, of sweet and sweaty embrace of an ars combinatoria, so dear to Jarry, Roussel and Ramon Lull. Here ‘Pataphysics joins with the mathematic of Oulipo to construct an all too few example of Ouarpo - a miniature architecture of potential.

Recombinant Poetics: Emergent Meaning as Examined and Explored Within a Specific Generative Virtual Environment (1999) by William Curtis Seaman

The Aesthetics of Paradoxism (2nd ed., 2002) by Titu Popescu, translated from Romanian by P. Georgelin, F. Smarandache, and L. Popescu

[+Kanexfaucher + Matinastamatakis + Johnmoorewilliams+] [Lysicology /. See also @ Scribd.com.

kinema ikon

Miscellanies (2008) by Raymond Belluga

At some point I think these exercises become pointless and excessively self-indulgent, but this is what happens when society, not just art, becomes more abstract. Now, in the Internet age, we become fully conscious or completely disoriented.

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