Pataphysics is defined by its inventor, Alfred Jarry, as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments". First mentioned in 1893 in Jarry's play Guignol, it has proved to be a lasting source of inspiration to artists, writers (such as the Oulipo group), and thinkers (e.g. Jean Baudrillard).
A Pataphysical College was founded in Paris in 1948 and the London Institute of Pataphysics in 2000. The latter has six divisions, including a Bureau for the Investigation of Subliminal Images, an Office of Patentry, a Committee on Hirsutism and Pognotropy, and 3 assorted departments. This insistence on multiple, highly particularized named divisions of the host institution parallels the approach of Marcel Broodthaers and other artists working with institutional alter egos.
As both a genuine philosophy (of a sort) and a parody of the absurd extremes to which philosophical inquiry can lead, Pataphysics can be classified as a fictive art movement.