In 1914 in his book “The Curves of Life” Theodore Andrea Cook writes;
“The Lucky Swastika,” (..)is “one of the most ancient and widespread of all symbols,” connected both to the orientation of the sun and to the growth of the lotus flower, the latter itself, according to Cook, considered a “sacred” spiral form .
Within a few short months of the publication of The Curves of Life, much of
Europe would be at war, (..)and vanguardist European artists of diverse and even antago-nistic allegiances had begun to draw on the figure of the spiral not to express “the profound significance of mankind” as eternal beauty, but precisely as absurdity and hideousness.”
Alfred Jarry’s (..) play Ubu Roi and the novel The Exploitsand Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician, both(..) prominently feature spirals of this new, destructive type, and both (..) were acknowledged by Italian Futurists as important precursors.
(..) the author of Ubu declares ’pataphysique to be “the science of that which is super-added to (..) metaphysics, whether within or beyond the limits of metaphysics.”
If metaphysics ostensibly studies that which is beyond the physical, ’pataphysics (whose little recoiling spiral apostrophe, Jarry claims, is used “to avoid a simple pun”) extends “as far beyond metaphysics as the latter extends beyond physics.”
Yet despite this ostensibly long reach, ’pataphysics is turned not toward the universal, but toward the particular and, especially, the “accidental.” Accordingly, it “examines the laws that govern exceptions.
"Faustroll’s little parable concludes, charmingly, “the unforeseen beast Clina-
men ejaculated onto the walls of its universe.” In Jarry’s text, (..)spiral forms are thus associated with sexuality and power, sexuality-as-power. This power would allow “’pataphysical” contemporary art-of-the-future to “dash itself ” against thearchitecture of the decaying old and, unforeseen, “ejaculate against the walls”with its destructively primal, primary, priapic/pudendic colors. In this explo-sively violent vision, body limns machine: indeed, body is a kind of sex- and art-making machine."
"Jarry’s ’pataphysics, thriving on the accidental, thus offers (..) exceptionally exemplary models for destructive production.The Italian Futurists responded, in part to Jarry’s provo-cation, with a call to “wreck the cities pitilessly,” to torch libraries and museums, and to embrace the hard sleekness of the machine.(..)
POINT AND LINE TO PLANE
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1926 UNDER THE TITLE OF PUNKT UND L1NIE ZU FLACHE
THE NINTH IN THE SERIES OF FOURTEEN BAUHAUS BOOKS EDITED BY WALTER GROPIUS AND L. MOHOLY-NAGY