'Pataphysics (French: 'pataphysique) is a philosophy or pseudophilosophy dedicated to studying what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics. The term was coined and the concept created by French writer Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), who defined 'pataphysics as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments." Jarry considered Hippocrates of Chios and Sophrotatos the Armenian as the fathers of this "science". A practitioner of 'pataphysics is a 'pataphysician or 'pataphysicist.
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'Pataphysics is a contraction of the pseudo-Greek term τὰ ἐπὶ τὰ μετὰφυσικά (ta epi ta metaphysika – "that which is above metaphysics"), which is a humorous variation on the title of Aristotle's work Metaphysics, in Greek "τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά" (ta meta ta physika – "that which is after physics", meaning "the works after [Aristotle's] Physics"). So literally, 'pataphysics means "that which is above that which is after physics."
Jarry mandated the inclusion of the apostrophe in the orthography "to avoid a simple pun". The term 'pataphysics is a paronym (considered a kind of pun in French) of metaphysics. Since the apostrophe in no way affects the meaning or pronunciation of 'pataphysics, the term may have been coined specifically to bring to mind various humorous puns for the listener. These puns include patte à physique (leg of physics), as interpreted by Jarry scholars Keith Beaumont and Roger Shattuck, pas ta physique (not your physics), and pâte à physique (physics pastry dough).
The term first appeared in print in the text of Alfred Jarry's play Guignol in the 28 April 1893, issue of L'Écho de Paris littéraire illustré. Jarry later defined it as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments." (Gestes et opinions du Docteur Faustroll, II, viii). Raymond Queneau has described 'pataphysics as resting "on the truth of contradictions and exceptions."
The Collège de 'pataphysique, founded on 11 May 1948 in Paris, is a group of artists and writers interested in the philosophy of 'pataphysics. The motto of the college is Eadem mutata resurgo (I arise again the same though changed), and its head is His Magnificence, Baron Jean Mollet. According to Warren Motte, noted members of the college have included Noël Arnaud (Regent of General 'Pataphysics and Clinic of Rhetoriconosis, as well as Major Confirmant of the Order of the Grand Gidouille), Luc Étienne also known as Luc Etienne Périn (Regent), Latis (Private General Secretary to the Baron Vice-Curator), François Le Lionnais (Regent), Jean Lescure (Regent of Anabathmology), and Raymond Queneau (Transcendent Satrap). As such, its members are linked with Oulipo. Publications of the college include the Cahiers du Collège de 'Pataphysique and the Dossiers du Collège de 'Pataphysique.
The authors Raymond Queneau, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, Boris Vian and Jean Ferry have described themselves as following the 'pataphysical tradition. 'Pataphysics and 'pataphysicians feature prominently in several linked works by science fiction writer Pat Murphy. The philosopher Jean Baudrillard is often described as a 'pataphysician and identified as such for some part of his life. One American writer, Pablo Lopez, has developed an extension of the "science" called the pataphor.
Although France had been always the center of the 'pataphysical globe, there are followers up in different cities around the world. In 1966 Juan Esteban Fassio was commissioned to draw the map of the Collège de 'Pataphysique and its institutes abroad. In the 1950s, Buenos Aires in the Western Hemisphere and Milan in Europe were the first cities to have 'pataphysical institutes. London, Edinburgh, Budapest, and Liege, as well as many other European cities, caught up in the sixties. In the 1970s, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, The Netherlands, and many other countries showed that the internationalization of 'pataphysics was irreversible.
In the 1960s 'pataphysics was used as a conceptual principle within various fine art forms, especially pop art and popular culture. Works within the 'pataphysical tradition tend to focus on the processes of their creation, and elements of chance or arbitrary choices are frequently key in those processes. Select pieces from the artist Marcel Duchamp and the composer John Cage characterize this. At around this time, Asger Jorn, a 'pataphysician and member of the Situationist International, referred to 'pataphysics as a new religion. Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson were artists who contrived machines of a 'pataphysical bent.
During the Communist Era, a small group of 'pataphysicists in Czechoslovakia started a journal called PAKO, or Pataphysical Collegium. Alfred Jarry's plays had a lasting impression on the country's underground philosophical scene.
 In music
- Reverend Fred Lane released two critically appreciated albums influenced by 'pataphysical theories as a part of his involvement with the Raudelunas art collective in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Professor Andrew Hugill, of De Montfort University, Leicester, is a practitioner of 'pataphysical music. He curated Pataphysics, for the Sonic Arts Network's CD series.  A CD entitled 'Pataphysical Piano; the sounds and silences of Andrew Hugill is available on the UHRecordings label, cat. no. 020011008.
- British progressive rock band Soft Machine has songs "Pataphysical Introduction" parts I and II on their 1969 album Volume Two.
- Japanese psychedelic rock band Acid Mothers Temple refer to the topic on their 1999 release Pataphisical Freak Out MU!!.
- Autolux, LA based noise pop band, have a song "Science Of Imaginary Solutions" in their second album Transit Transit.
- "'Pataphysical science" is mentioned as a course of study for Maxwell Edison's first victim, "Joan", in the song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" on the album Abbey Road by the Beatles.
- The debut album by Ron 'Pate's Debonairs featuring Rev. Fred Lane (his first appearance on vinyl) was entitled Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Revue (1977), a live theatrical performance. A review in The Wire magazine said, "No other record has ever come as close to realising Alfred Jarry's desire 'to make the soul monstrous' – or even had the vision or invention to try."
 In visual art
American artist Thomas Chimes developed an interest in Jarry's pataphysics, which became a lifelong passion, inspiring much of the painter's creative work.
In 2010 the artist KCF Ferreira began a visual exploration into the imaginary solutions for the constructs of reality (pataphysics=pata art). The exhibit SpektrumMEK that resulted from this endeavor has been put into the book "SpektrumMEK: a pataphysical gestation to the birth of Lil' t"
The League of Imaginary Scientists, a Los Angeles-based art collective specializing in 'pataphysics-based interactive experiments. In 2011 they exhibited a series of projects at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
The 'pataphor (Spanish: patáfora, French: pataphore), is a term coined by writer and musician Pablo Lopez ("Paul Avion"), for an unusually extended metaphor based on Alfred Jarry's "science" of 'pataphysics. As Jarry claimed that 'pataphysics existed "as far from metaphysics as metaphysics extends from regular reality," a 'pataphor attempts to create a figure of speech that exists as far from metaphor as metaphor exists from non-figurative language. Whereas a metaphor is the comparison of a real object or event with a seemingly unrelated subject in order to emphasize the similarities between the two, the 'pataphor uses the newly created metaphorical similarity as a reality with which to base itself. In going beyond mere ornamentation of the original idea, the 'pataphor seeks to describe a new and separate world, in which an idea or aspect has taken on a life of its own.
Like 'pataphysics itself, 'pataphors essentially describe two degrees of separation from reality (rather than merely one degree of separation, which is the world of metaphors and metaphysics). The 'pataphor may also be said to function as a critical tool, describing the world of "assumptions based on assumptions," such as belief systems or rhetoric run amok. The following is an example.
- Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line.
- Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line; two pieces positioned on a chessboard.
- Tom took a step closer to Alice and made a date for Friday night, checkmating. Rudy was furious at losing to Margaret so easily and dumped the board on the rose-colored quilt, stomping downstairs.
Thus, the 'pataphor has created a world where the chessboard exists, including the characters who live in that world, entirely abandoning the original context.
 See also
- Atlas Press
- Church of the SubGenius
- The Firesign Theatre (a comedy troupe whose jokes often rely on 'pataphors)
- The Jean Baudrillard Reader. Redhead, Steve, Columbia University Press, 2008, pp. 6–7. 2008-03-01. ISBN 978-0-231-14613-5. http://books.google.com/?id=PiQSLKqNr8oC. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- Archived 16 November 2007 at WebCite
- Baxter, Ed (September, 1998). "100 Records That Set The World On Fire . . . While No One Was Listening". The Wire: pp. 35–36.
- (Spanish) Luis Casado, 'Pataphors And Political Language, El Clarin: Chilean Press, 2007
- The Cahiers du Collège de 'Pataphysique, n°22 (December 2005), Collège de 'Pataphysique
- Beaumont, Keith (1984). Alfred Jarry: A Critical and Biographical Study. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-01712-X.
- Jarry, Alfred (1980) (in French). Gestes et opinions du Docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien. France: Gallimard. ISBN 2-07-032198-3. ISBN.
- Schonberg, Bo (1986). Beatles Complete Guitar. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0-88188-605-X.
- Shattuck, Roger (1980). Roger Shattuck's Selected Works of Alfred Jarry: Ubu Cuckolded, Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-5167-1.
- Taylor, Michael R. (2007). Thomas Chimes Adventures in 'Pataphysics. Philadelphia Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-87633-253-5.
- Clements, Cal (2002). Pataphysica. iUnivers, Inc.. ISBN 0-595-23604-9.
- (French) Collège de ’Pataphysique
- London Institute of 'Pataphysics
- 'Marcel Duchamp and 'Pataphysics'
- (Italian) Autoclave di Estrazioni Patafisiche