Since fin-de-siecle Paris, when the Decadent poets and their Symoblist
loves ran amok in the streets, occidental humans have been in
search of a new paradigm in togetherness. It is no secret that
all humans want to belong to something greater than themselves.
We act this survival instinct out in a number of unhealthy and
unsophisticated ways. Sometimes we join religious groups we don't
have faith in, hoping that we can be part of making the world
a better place through compassion or love. Other times we coach
little league or join the PTA. Some of us even join country clubs,
or political parties. By far the most extreme and phenomenal of
these performances of 'togetherness' occurs when some of us join
The art collective as we know it today evolved from the ashes
of the of Dada, Constructivism, Futurism and Surrealist movements.
When Andre Breton dismissed a few key members of the Surrealist
Group, the movement-less artists formed an art collective the
likes of which the world had never seen, the College of 'Pataphysics.
These french intellectuals decided it was prudent to form an organization
dedicated to the study and eventual meta-study of the science
of imaginary solutions, 'pataphysics. 'Pataphysics, of course,
was initiated by the French fin-de-siecle author Alfred Jarry,
in several of his plays, novels and poems.
College of 'Pataphysics
The College of 'Pataphysics thrived and soon hosted one of the
most bizarre membership rosters of all time: Macel Duchamp, the
Marx Brothers, Raymond Queneau, Jean Ferry, MC Escher, Jean Dubuffet,
and the most bizarre of all, Lutembi and Mata Mata, a crocodile
and tortoise respectively. The college occulted itself in the
seventies with a promise to de-occult in the year 2000, which
it did, according to Jean Baudrillard.
Emergence of Art Collectives as a Common Practice
Following in the footsteps of these brave art collective enthusiasts,
many groups in occidental and even a few in oriental artistic
circles began to emerge: Fluxus, Gutai, Vienna Actionists, Lettriste
International, Situationist International, and the London Psychogeographical
Association. By the end of the 20th century more diverse and bizarre
collectives had emerged: Museum of Jurassic Technology, Church
of Stop Shopping, Center for Tactical Magic, Association of Autonomous
Astronauts, and even the Yes Men.
While all this was going on another phenomenon was occurring,
that of scouting. All over the world youth scouting was on the
rise. Scouting is said to have been formed in part due to the
initiatives of Baden Powell. Scouting was a good way to involve
kids in the workings of their own cultures and even expose them
to other modes of cultural thinking, albeit through the rose-tinted
glasses of scoutmasters. Scouting proliferated so well due to
its memetic structure. It was a hierarchical award system, and
like a college, after a certain level of learning and work, a
young scout could become a mature scoutmaster. This is not unlike
a black belt or becoming an officer, or even being published or
included in the top rungs of the inner workings of an art collective.
Code Word: Togetherness
Seeing as how I was already a member of an art collective known
to the world as the Meme-Rider Media Team. I decided it would
be prudent to initiate an endeavour to merge both art collectivity
and scouting, to form an ultimate form of togetherness. It would
combine the headiness and theoretical aspirations of art collectivity,
with their unique tenacity and desire to change the world through
art with the award and merit based programs of scouting which
elected to employ pedagogy and play. The code word for it all
was togetherness. And what I call it is Pata-Memetic Scouting,
which is the new paradigm for both scouting and art collectivity.
Initial Phases and the Politics of Exclusion
In thinking of how I wanted to structure a scouting group that
could also function as an art collective, I had to sort out a
few of the key components of the togetherness of scouting and
collectivity, that of exclusion. If you are going to have a group
of people it creates a binary, those in the group and those outside
of the group. The College of 'Pataphysics, knowing full well the
woes of exclusion designed their college to include the entire
world, a world whose population according to the college was comprised
entirely of 'pataphysicians who were either conscious of this
fact or not. So, their binary was whether people knew they were
members of the college or not. Those who were conscious paid dues
to the college and would eat dinner with other members and even
had the exclusive right to a member of the college present at
their funeral. The only down side was that the only way to officially
refuse membership was to commit suicide in front of a panel of
representatives from the College of 'Pataphysics proper. The rest
of the world, or those who were unconscious of their station as
'pataphyscians simply lived their lives in ignorance. So, back
to pata-memetic scouting--instead of binaries, I have chosen for
an open source form of scouting, one that is completely maleable
in the hands of whoever choses to take hold of it. In the short
and sweet, it is a modified form of togetherness, where people
do something together then pat themselves on the back with a little
material reward, award, or whatever. My desired outcome for this
project, which I intend to spend a good portion of my life working
with, is to offer the world the autonomous pleasures of both scouting
and art collectivity at the same time without regard to politics
of identity such as gender, orientation, nationality, ethnicity,
beliefs, sanity or philosophy, etc.
Organization Solutions for Pata-Memetic Scout
Pata-Memetic Scouting is a contraction of several notions, one is
a 'pataphysical meta-meme. A meta-meme is a meme about memes. A
pata-meme, then using the definition of 'pataphysics, which is the
science of imaginary solutions extending as far beyond metaphysics
as metaphysics extends beyond physics; extends as far beyond meta-memes
as meta-memes extend beyond memes. And scouting is a memetic strategy
using merit based or otherwise award driven social/ political/ semiotic/
cultural/ artistic indoctrination. Scouting is a way of making others
use memes according to the well-established norms and mores a 'scoutmaster'
would hold true.
Alternating and non-hierarchical positions for pata-memetic
and optionally for those under the age of 8:
Pata-memetic scouts form autonomous scouting outfits that
*Media/ Information Societies
Derives, Hikes, Quests, Journeys and Walkabouts
One of the most common forms of art collective or scout collective
activities is that of walking around a place as an activity. Walks
come in all shapes, sizes and forms. But every once in a while,
scouts or artists will invent new ways of walking that completely
rewrite the paradigm of walking activities.
The derive was originated by an art collective called Situationist
International. They are mostly anarchists interested in redefining
the way humans exist through the reworking of systems. One of their
methods of doing so is called the derive. It is a form of walking
that reroutes the city or urban space by constructing rules of movement,
or purposefully placing walkers in unfamiliar spaces, so they must
readjust and thus can experience a familiar city as if it were new,
or if the space were indeed unfamiliar, a vertigonous sense of wonder
A common practice in scouting is the hike. A hike is a rural activity,
usually in the wilderness, mountains, woods, or even on formally
set apart hiking paths. It is a great way to get out there and experience
nature. Equipment ususally becomes important for hikes, becuase
they are done in the wilderness. Hikers must often carry their own
water or food. Hiking produces a sense of self-awareness and independence,
and for some even a deep sense of being at one with nature.
Quests are a very special form of both hiking, the derive and traveling.
Quests are initiated when there becomes a dire need for someone
or a small band of people to venture off into the unknown to either
collect something from an unknown realm or to return something that
belongs in an unknown realm. Often times it is advisible to quest
with a group. When a group of organisms decide to embark on a quest,
that group is called a fellowship, and there are several ways that
fellowships can be organized.
Journeys are introspective quests, usually without destinations.
They can be anywhere from millions of light years in length to a
simple vision or dream. Journeys are perhaps the most misunderstood
of all movement oriented activity, and it takes a very learned journeyperson
to explain the uniqueness of journeying.
Walkabouts are a type of movement in space that can be a quest,
a journey, an expedition, or even a hunting party. The one thing
that makes a walkabout unique though is that those on walkabout
use a pyschogeographic pivot. That is, they are never lost, because
of a telekenetic connection point they have at their home, which
stays with them for the length of their walkabout.
Prefixes, Suffixes, Words and Other Language Games
Scouts and art collectives alike both have highly sophisticated
forms of language games. They start by picking a word, usually
a concept or activity, such as modernism or camping. Added to
this word prefixes and/ or suffixes will be added to help elucidate
or otherwise enhance or question the very notion of the word itself.
Take the prefix 'post' for example. Post-moodernism, or post-camping
would be your result. If one adds a suffix at this point, say
'plex', one would get, post-modernism-plex or post-camping-plex.
The meanings of all of these words can be greatly modified using
simple language games to produce wildly effective and interesting
new concepts or activities.
here is a list of effective prefixes one could use:
Here is a list of highly effective suffixes:
There is no short list of words that would be highly effective
for use in pata-memetic scouting, because every word, behavior,
style, usage, symbol, fear, desire or dream is memetically sound
for using in a language game. It is akin to the magnet game where
there are literally thousands upon thousands of words to chose
from and any arrangement of them seems like perfect poetry. I
wouldn't even recommend staying on a single topic, but rather
mix things up to the point of total and absolute complexity. Intensely
complex notions tend to be much more reasonable to conduct pata-memetic
scouting with, because they don't easily preconclude an outcome.
Other Language Games
Pata-memetic scouts should feel free to use all languages in what
ever means they see fit. Remember that words are abstract sets
of sounds that have no real relation to what the signified really
is. Sometimes one doesn't even need to use a word, simply combining
prefixes and suffixes will do, such as in 'transology' or 'postism'.
Or one can even combine more than one or two prefixes and suffixes
on the same word to create some of the most effective hybrids,
like with 'post-trans-pata-memeticismnessgate'.
Derbies, Classics, Grand Prix, Regattas and Other Races
The derby is one of the best ways for scouting collectives to
get together and enjoy some comraderie and compassionate competition.
The derby is a race involving car like pods. For the most part
a derby will consist of homemade racing vehicles on homemade tracks.
A nice deviation from the traditional derby is the so-called 'demolition
derby' where the name of the game is not to win a series of consecutive
races, but to survive a series of prepared collisions. The Futurist
art collective was big into derby style racing, especially demolition
derbies. The most well-known derby associated with scouting is
the infamous 'pinewood derby' where wooden cars are made and raced
on plastic wheels.
Classics are an odd group in scout collective racing. Classics
traditionally refer to balloon racing, and any number of balloon
styles can accomodate these races. Homemade aeronautic devices
can also be place squarely in the camp of classic racing, such
as rockets, planes, helicopters, and any number of remote controlled
The Grand Prix
The largest and most obscene of all races is the grand prix, so
noted for its heavy use of a grand prize, usually a cup or chalise.
These races are usually done in homemade vehicles with a human
driver, so much of the grand prix itself involves the sport of
racing, where the physical presence of the driver is just as important
as the object that is racing.
Regattas are the great boat races, usually wind powered. Traditionally
scout collectives create the raingutter regatta scenarios, where
raingutters are outfitted with a liquid to race home spun boats
in, using their own breath as the wind power for the boats.
The idea of getting collectives together to race each other is
one of fellowship and togetherness, it is not so much that objects
are placed into battles of speed or strength with each other as
much as friendships are made. So, to this end, a race is a good
excuse to get together and share ideas, feelings, and the ocassional
homemade racing project. So any form of racing is really just
as valid as any other.
Some suggestions for racing forms:
Some suggestions of things to race:
Antics, Hoaxes, Capers, and Other Various Operational Strategies
Memetically speaking antics are a set of behaviors one uses to
form performances of personality. Learning to cultivate a strong
sense of antics, or how to give the illusion of confusion of antics
helps the meme-scout spread memes more effectively in the larger
scheme of things, and creates a firmer, more clear base from which
to ride memetic strategies with.
Hoaxing is one of the most exquisite forms of trickery from which
to set memetic strategies loose from. Most hoaxers, as they are
called, are conscious of the fact that they are fooling people,
usually towards auto-advantageous ends. A good hoax is one that
is not easily detected. Falsified findings of reputable organizations
is one thing, but exposing spiritualism, by performing hoaxes
on hoaxers in gloriously pata-memetic.
The caper is a long and complex set of antics and hoaxing. It
is what an opera or musical is to a sing along song. The scope
of a well executed caper can be just as enthralling as a lunar
landing. Capers are built around notions of alter-egos, secret
identities, and meme-riding. It is really only the territory of
truly experienced meme-rider of meme-scouts to pull off a successful
and interesting caper. Legality issues become less significant
when dealing in the realm of capers because of the sheer artistry
of a good caper. It is not illegal, it is extreme aesthetic behavior
being done for the betterment of the whole wide world.
Other Various Operational Strategies for Disguise
We live in a time of punctums. It is exceptionally difficult to
figure out what is what and who is really who. Multiple and altering
identities are more common today than ever in human history. We
also live in a time where humans are on the thresholds of evolving
beyond the human paradigm. The question of who we are is ultimately
unanswerable one. The one thing we can remain certain and true
to is how we disguise ourselves. There are an infinite amount
of ways and varieties of doing so, and it is part of pata-memetic
scouting to continually invent and reinvent modes and operational
strategies for disguise.
Insignias, Medals, Patches and Other Forms of Demarcation
Merit badges are probably the easiest way for pata-memetic scouting
groups and scouting collectives to materially award themselves
for activities. Merit badges are especially useful because they
indicate a specific set or singular activity that does not imply
rank, but rather symbolizes accomplishments. In the end, merit
badges offer a way for collecting the physical presence of previously
performed activities and a chance for the scout to discuss how,
who, where and what for their earning of that particular merit
badge. Merit badges can also be continuously invented and reinvented
for performances of hybrid activities or for a melange of interests
Insignias are demarcations which set a person within the democratic
strictures of a particular sub-set within a culture. Within the
organizational models of pata-memetic scouting, insignias simply
designate a certain set of temporary or semi-temporary identities.
Say, if a meme-scout is temporarily working under the structure
of being a bricoleusse or a transhuman--an insignia is a way to
display for the whole world to see, the various sets of memetic
strategies that one is holding firmer to at that given point in
Medals are awarded to those who have perfomed completely selfless
acts. The medal is an honor bestowed on people after such heroic
performances. In a way the medal is a memory model that can be
a sign of the appreciation others have for your efforts, actions
and various other performances.
Patches, writ large are symbols of literally anything. The patch
is a good way to display memetic strategies or to symbolize the
interests of any one particular scouting collective. They can
be commemorative, decorative, instructive, confrontational, and
even didactic. Anything goes with patches, they are a great way
to express one's self, or to express a larger form of togetherness,
that of a group think, meta-meme or meme-plex, such as identity
affiliations or belief structures, or significance sectors within
cultures and societies. Patches are an especially valuable tool
for those engaged in counter-culture or alternative culture strategies.
Other Forms of Demarcation
To these ends various forms of demarcation can be used in scouting
collectives for any means or purposes the collective qualifies
as necessary. In a perfect world, these decisions would be made
unanimously and democratically, and without any form of divination
or divine intervention. Demarcations are human enterprises that
are ways we award or reward others for accomplishments and achievements.
In pata-memetic scouting, research, body knowledge and adventures
are all equal and play a significant role in the development of
those involved in the activities of autonomous scouting collectives.