Friday, October 07, 2005

Look! Nothing Mysterious at all, at all...

2 Haha 132 de l'Ere Pataphysique

Borsky and I share an interest in 'Pataphysics and OuLiPo and you could take this as a typical sample of my kind of forum post...

Recent research on the Priory of Sion, Rennes-le-Chateau, Holy Blood, Holy Grail material that lies (and boy, does it lie!) behind The DaVinci Code etc seems to point to a Surrealist / 'Pataphysical involvement in the whole story, a fantastic piece of spacetime interactive art that I find hilarious. Gerard de Sede belonged in this group, as did several other people involved.

I bring it up because this week UK tv showed Tony Robinson's debunking program about it. On the web you can find suggestions like:

Philippe de Cherisey, Jean Cocteau, Gerard de Sede, and Jean-Pierre Deloux are/were all Surrealists. The "parchments" use encryption techniques which look similar to those used by the Oulipo Group. I think "Le Cercle d'Ulysee"s title may ultimately derive from Surrealist James Joyce. And you know that painting which is so important to Dan Brown's book, the Gioconda/Mona Lisa?

Surrealist Guillaume Apollinaire tried to steal it from the Louvre in 1911
However, note that every time we fumble towards the truth another misleading detail appears. I don't think James Joyce ever belonged to the Surrealist Group.

Steve Mizrach's Timeline of related events might amuse you, with throwaway lines like this:

1904 - Jewish adman Leopold Bloom and the artist Stephen Daedalus wander the streets of Dublin. The first Bloomsday (see 1922).

Aleister Crowley receives the Book of the Law (also known as Liber AL) from Aiwass in Cairo. He proclaims the central principle of the Law of Thelema. Crowley in using this term is essentially proclaiming he is a follower of Francois Rabelais.

As one Discordian, or was it a SubGenius, once paraphrased this, “Do whatever keeps you from wilting shall be the whole of the Law.”
And this page ends with these assertions:
Most importantly, Gerard de Sede in the 1940s belonged to two Surrealist groups, Les Reverberes and La Main a Plume. Members of these groups would go on later to form the Workshop for Potential Literature (Oulipo) in the 1960s. Oulipo was interested in cryptograms, ciphers, textual reversals and inversions, geometric figures in paintings (Oupeinpo), and one key Oulipo text even used the Knight's Tour of the Chessboard as a organizing device. Jean-Pierre Deloux seems to be connected to Oupolipo, the offshoot of Oulipo devoted to creating detective police fictions. And Philippe de Cherisey seems to have written several articles on Alfred Jarry, the founder of the Surrealist College de Pataphysique.

On that note, I'd like to point you to John Langdon and his ambigrams (which Dan Brown made famous) of all kinds. Here, a figure/ground one...

I can't attribute a writer to the following, as it has already got cut and pasted around the Web:

The Angelic Society: Three recent French books, Jules Verne: Initiate and Initiator by Michael Lamy, Arsene Lupin: Unknown Master by Patrick Ferte, and Fulcanelli and the Black Cat by Richard Khaitzine, seem to suggest that the PoS came into being as a sort of artistic society, uniting the Bohemian avant-garde artists of Montmartre (the Symbolists, the Surrealists, and the Romantics). Apparently, these musicians, writer-poets, dramatists, and painters were interested in common themes, and in the Rabelaisian technique of using Grasset D'Orcet's "language of the birds"... creating puns, rebuses, and riddles for the purposes of satire, social criticism, and concealing knowledge. In the works of disparate creative people such as Honore de Balzac, Maurice Leblanc, Jules Verne, Raymond Roussel, Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Valentine Gross Hugo, Marc Chagall, Gerard de Nerval, Maurice Barres, Josephin Peladan, Claude Debussy and "Les Six," Comte Robert de Montesquiou, Victor Hugo, Jean Cocteau, Charles Nodier, Stephane Mallarme, Maurice Maeterlinck, Jean-Julian Champagne (Fulcanelli), and perhaps even Pataphysician Alfred Jarry, can be found the techniques and interests we today associate with the "Priory of Sion". Lamy says that many of these people belonged to a group he calls The Brouillards (The Clouds) or the Angelic Society, of which the PoS is a modern manifestation. They are descended from the Gouliards, or medieval clerks and print-makers, whose mystical and heretical Cathar watermarks so fascinated Harold Bayley. Robert Anton Wilson also feels that a number of these people may have also belonged to the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see Only Maybe still in progress...

I mostly stopped willing my reality on bi-peds. They haven't stopped doing it to me. Maybe its time to make believe and make them believe make believe.

Maybe I'll join back in once I arrive at my next island destination.

Bogus Magus said...

No hurry, no worry pft - now that MQ has rediscovered itself, this blog doesn't seem so important, but remains a fun tool for now.

borsky said...

Always good to hear people interested in 'pataphysics. The idea " 'Pataphysics PO Priory of Sion " is something I never expected and find hilarious in a very serious way. Everything is pataphysical, of course, so do total nutcases as Gérard de Sede. He never had any bounds with the collège though.
May I just point to some blatant inadequacies I lliked, chosen at random…
1. Some members of Oulipo came out of the surrealist movement, as did founder Raymond Queneau. Some other came out of a mathematical background, as did founder François Le Lionnais. Others were novelist (Italo Calvino), dadaist (Marcel Duchamp), litterature critic (Michèle Métail) etc. I liked the idea of the Knight of the chessboard as a conspiracy device!
2. Never heard of Jean-Pierre Deloux. And the 'Ouvroir de Litérature Policière Potentielle' is acronymed OuLiPoPo, not Oupolipo (Oukhaze de Police Libertaire Pornographique?)
3. Dr. Steven Mizrach seem to invent them as he goes along: never heard of Philippe de Cherisey either! And Alfred Jarry (September 8, 1873 – November 1, 1907) was the writer of masterpieces as "Ubu Roi", "César-Antéchrist" and "Gestes et Opinions du Docteur Faustroll, 'pataphysicien". He was the first one in both of his avatars, Ubu and Faustroll, to pinpoint and clearly define the meaning of 'pataphysics at the end of the 19th century.The Collège de 'Pataphysique on the other hand was created on May 11, 1948, in Paris by one unknown (to non-members anyway) individual. Through the years many intellectuals and artists joined like the above members of OuliPo, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Enrico Baj, Fernando Arrabal, Umberto Eco etc. (links to the college and similar institutions on my blog).
I suppose one could see the college as a secret society. But one that advertises lies, truths and halftruths everywhere to become famously unknown.
4. To imagine Alfred Jarry as a member of a secret society… well, he was an anarchist with nothing but disdain towards anarchists; a symbolist with no social bonds to his highbrow fellow artists, with the exception of creating puppets for puppeteer shows; a punker of the 19th century running along with greentainted hair shooting randomly with a gun; a thief, riding for fifteen years a bicycle which he never paid but he kept writing very strange letters to the shocked salesman; a very funny man who never in his entire life ever laughed… so he could very well have infiltrated not one, but all of the secret societies of his time and ridiculed them all democratically.
I had an issue from the college about ambigrams somewhere, this John Langdon does great stuff
Thank BM for all your new perspextlitives!

Résident du 'P.

Bogus Magus said...

Thanks Borsky - I knew you'd fill in some details for me, and correct the blatant errors. A lot of this comes from Internet research (never trust a word of it) but I liked the overall picture of a huge performance arts piece that got written into history, and taken seriously by many researchers. After all, it seems like as good an explanation as any!

I first came across 'Pataphysics when I squatted an artist's atelier in Paris in 1970, and various strangely shaped books lay around abandoned. Even some stamps (one of which I found the other day!) with Jarry on them. It never proved easy to do research on the subject, beyond getting hold of a copy of the Evergreen Review special edition (which I no longer own).

Thanks for all the links, clues and corrections. You may have gathered that Marcel Duchamp remains one of my all time favourite people...and he never really completely belonged to any 'group' either - although a lot of people wanted him to join them, I think!


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