The Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics

Mireille Perron

February 24 - March 31, 2007

Mirielle Perron awarded Nobel Price in Feminist Pataphysics!

Presentation Speech by the Chairwoman of the Swedish Nobel Committee, Stockholm, December 10th, 2007.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this year’s special Nobel Prize Award ceremony.

This evening is marked by a special announcement of the first Nobel Prize in 40 years.[1] Tonight we will champion an undisciplined field that is much wetter behind the ears, but has already established itself in the worlds of science, culture, medicine, gender and visual arts. It derives its roots from Alfred Jarry, who invented and described Pataphysics as “the science of imaginary solutions.”[2] Since her productive insight into Feminist Pataphysics, just a few short years ago, “discoveries followed each other in rapid succession, and it was obvious that a new science was in course of development.”[3] The work of one intrepid researcher has defined this emerging field with outstanding feats of the feminist imagination.

Ladies and Gentlement, the first Nobel Prize in Feminist Pataphysics is awarded to Mereille Perron for her reinvention of gendered science through embodied fictional narratives. Congratulations!


The Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics (L.F.P) has achieved a far-reaching impact by highlighting the practices of many Pataphysiciennes who have been neglected from conventional science for decades.

The L.F.P’s Emergency Mobile Units are wheeled sculptural interventions that careen their way across disciplines. Each one of the Units -- Anatomy, Identity, Transgenetics, Toxicology and Incorporation -- use their curious collections of narratives and objects, to re-inscribe institutional spaces as sites for sensual interaction. The L.F.P. has made another important contribution with the launch of three new auxiliary Institutes: The Institute for Confounding Pretension, The Institute for Cosmic Procrastination, and The Institute for Corporate Pudding (I.C.P.) Under Perron’s strong direction, the Institutes' unruly references to the natural world, the female body, fables and craftiness, interrupt the corporate spaces and power structures that often colonize the art world.

Despite their mimicry of institutionalized science and corporate cultures, each intervention of the Emergency Mobile Units and the work of each Institute refers to our infinite capacities for intimacy, imagination, sight, touch, taste and smell. Through her squishy, embodied approach to science, “we have gained new methods, infinitely superior in subtlety to any we had in this sphere.”[4] Perron’s practice re-appropriates ideas developed in artistic cultures and too often co-opted into corporate regulations, and critiques from within the institutions and the administrative structures that it wishes to transform.

It would behoove me to briefly introduce the meal in honour of tonight’s occasion. It was prepared in the spirit of the L.F.P. with “science, magic and cookery blended into one another with no formally distinguished limits.” [5] Perron’s menagerie of sugared fishy-bits, gelatin lagomorphs and mammalian genital confections is the inspiration for our special culinary selections. We present an edible replica of the Transgenic Unit’s fluorescent bunny: a mint julep gelatin bunny atop a crocheted lattice of caramelized sugar for your delectation. In honour of the new Institute for Corporate Pudding, our chefs have also attempted the first pudding made of beavers’ testicles: only under extreme pressure do the molecules from this homogenous pudding, a process “which we might well call the chemistry of the imponderable”. [6] Finally, we will be paying homage to two early Feminist Pataphysiciennes Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, by serving vagina shaped chocolate cakes, [7] with shoelace licorice twirls.

“I beg you, Madam [Perron], to see in this circumstance a proof of the importance which our Academy attaches to your most recent discoveries, and I invite you... to receive the price from His Majesty the King, who [will] present it to you.”[8]


Mirielle Perron, Nobel Prize in Feminist Pataphysics Lecture/Intervention, Stockholm, December 2007.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,

By way of accepting this great honour, I would like to simply extend an invitation for the distinguished guests to watch for the members of the L.F.P. who are roaming the reception for new recruits. As many of you know, Mary Poppins [9] is an honorary Feminist Pataphysicienne credited with the development of an eco-friendly, lighter-than-air locomotion. [10] Yes, my dears, in the spirit of Poppins, it is time to conjure your joie de vivre and throw this “culture of caution” to the wind!

Thank you, but we must not delay. Goodnight!


Mme. Mireille Perron and the members of the L.F.P. leap into their fleet of knitted escape pods (sponsored by the Institute for Cosmic Procrastination,) inflate the hot air balloons, and leave the reception through the skylight of the reception hall.

- Anthea Black 2007

[1] Actually 39 years! But what’s wrong with a little creative diction? “The Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies and Banquets,”

[2] Mireille Perron, “History,” Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics.

[3] Marie Curie, Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1966.

[4] Dr.H.R.Törnebladh, Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967.

[5] Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Near a Thousand Tables, A History of Food. Toronto, Free Press, 2002, p.119.

[6] Marie Curie, ibid.

[7] Mireille Perron, Feminists, Colporteu(r)ses and Pataphysicien(n)nes, Culture of Community, Ed. Vera LeMecha, MAWA, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, 2004, p.80.

[8] Dr. E.W. Dahlgren, Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1966.

[9] MP < = > MP. For the origins of this formula, please see JB < = > JB, the work of a brilliant Feminist Pataphysicienne, Joanne Bristol.

[10] Poppins’ use of an umbrella preceded the knitted escape pod.

[11] Chris Creighton-Kelly describes “bureaucratic culture and its habits” as a “culture of caution.” Chris Creighton-Kelly, “bleeding the memory membrane, Arts Activism and Cultural Institutions, “Questions of Community: Artists, Audiences, Coalitions, Eds. Daina Augaitis, et al. Banff Centre Press, 1998. p.107-8.


Mireille Perron was born in Montréal, Québec. Since 1982, her installations have appeared in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Her work explores the connections between gender, culture, visual arts, science and medicine. She has also written and published critical essays on a variety of subjects related to representation. Recent examples of the range of her work includes, Les Belles Ratoureuses/ The Beautiful Pranksters, curated by Christine Sowiak Nickle Arts Museum, 2000, an installation at the crossroads of medical, sensual and a critical imagery and an essay titled Feminists, Colpoteu(r)ses and Pataphysicien(n)es published in the anthology Culture of Community, edited by Vera Lemecha, MAWA, 2004.
Mireille Perron lives and works in Calgary, Alberta where she teaches at the Alberta College of Art and Design. 

Anthea Black is an artist and art writer based in Calgary. She is an honourary member of The Laboratory of Feminist Pataphysics.