13 Sep

It’s interesting that curators and artists increasingly seem to be mining science fiction for inspiration, or justification. Wikipedia weirdly defines me as a science fiction artist. I don’t know what a science fiction artist is, but I like it. I think it’s just a taxonomical cock up, because I was classified as a science fiction writer and then as an artist, but somehow the latter designation merged with the former instead of replacing it or existing alongside it. I suppose I am a science fiction artist, in some way. It’s not a fitting description for somebody who just grabs de-contextualised sci-fi quotes for their artbollocks press releases, though.

Talking of artbollocks press releases, I recently received one about another contemporary art exhibition that nobody is going to see but will therefore form an even better addition to the artists’ CVs, since nobody can gainsay any claims they choose to make about it. This really is the gold medal for artists who want to make it in the orthodox international art world but can’t be bothered to actually do any substantive work. I see this all the time. “Oh, I had a show here, I had a show there…” But you had no audience, dickhead. Without real people (i.e. not just your dickhead friends) seeing your work and reacting to it, you’re just indulging your vanity and ego.

The Franco-Swiss exhibition in question, Insufficient Data for Meaningful Answer, has chosen to use Isaac Asimov as its fig leaf. It could have been anyone, really, since in this case it’s definitely a justification rather than an inspiration.

“The intent behind INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER is to provide a few very fragmentary and insufficient data to extend these lines of questioning¹,². In the form of a ‘stereographic’ exhibition, it will introduce a close conversation between two young artists, Maxime Bondu and Gaël Grivet. If they share common interests and themes in the field of lacunary knowledge³, the way they approach the subject varies considerably.”


1. I’ve omitted the “lines of questioning” mentioned. Trust me, you don’t need to know and you wouldn’t care in the slightest what they are.

2. ARTISTS AND CURATORS, FOR FUCKS SAKE STOP SAYING THAT YOU’RE QUESTIONING OR INTERROGATING THINGS. You’re not at school any more and you’re not doing an exam. Neither are you engaged in developing a science or a technology, in which the success or failure of your project is measured in replicable results that have a widespread application. All the so-called questions that pretentious artists take it upon themselves to answer have already been answered decades or centuries ago (“what if we decided to sign a domestic fitting such as a urinal and arbitrarily called it art?”), or are inherently unanswerable (“What is evil?”) And no question is worth very much in the first place if nobody else cares about the answer (“What if a French artist and a Swiss artist explored lacunary knowledge together in a town in France that nobody’s ever heard of?”)

3. Let’s talk about “the field of lacunary knowledge.” This is oxymoronic, given that a lacuna is a gap or missing section. We might be very well aware that there is a gap in a body of knowledge, but by definition we cannot know what information existed in that gap until the missing information is recovered and the lacuna is filled, making it not a lacuna any more. Therefore there cannot be such a thing as “lacunary knowledge.” If you must use the word “lacunary”, I will accept “lacunary speculation” or “lacunary hypothesising”, although I may still slap you a few times.

4. If you have a genuine, coherent intellectual thesis or position that you wish to convey (i.e. as opposed to being merely a pseudo-intellectual bullshitter), then aim your words like a sniper rifle. Don’t just blast us in the face with a hastily loaded blunderbuss.

5. “… to provide a few very fragmentary and insufficient data…” Uh oh! The artists haven’t done enough work to make a proper exhibition again.

“Maxime Bondu (b. 1985, lives in France) applies a speculative aesthetics of discovery, which is contemplated, interpreted and distorted through the space-time vortex of a mimetic mirror¹. When the space² is not delineated, it is its³ attempted discoveries which give rise to projects. Like an archaeologist, at once researcher, historian, explorer and story-teller, Maxime Bondu tries to invent stories and construct. It is often a matter of History, fragments and displacements. Drawing from different worlds, he attempts to challenge the idea of conquest through his forms and his theories.”


1. That entire first sentence can just fuck off, in every part and in its entirety. How can aesthetics be speculative? How can discovery have an aesthetic? “Mimetic mirror” is tautological, since a mirror (a reflective surface) provides an image of what is in front of it (i.e. its function is a form of mimesis). “Mimetic mirror” is not only tautological but also absolute bollocks, especially when it’s randomly connected to the phrase “space-time vortex”. The artist and/or curator need to look up what a space-time vortex is, and then perhaps they might be well-informed enough not to try using it in the context of an artist piddling around in an art gallery.

2. To what space are you referring? (NB: “space” or [x] space, like “interrogate” and “hovers/exists between [y] and [z]” is core art bollocks vocabulary) How and why is this space– whatever it may be– not delineated? All spaces are delineated with the possible exception of the entire universe, if only because of all the properties they do not have; otherwise we could not speak of them or name them or distinguish one from the other. The universe means “everything in existence, with nothing outside of it”, and even the universe is therefore also arguably delineated in some senses. Attempted discoveries of what, and by whom? What projects? How does attempted discovery in non-delineated spaces give rise to them? Maybe it has something to do with that space-time vortex? Why does the idea of conquest need challenging?

3. “It is its”. Just… no. Not in my language.

“In the methodology adopted by Gaël Grivet (b. 1978, lives in Switzerland), notions of comparative approach, extraction and process are pivotal¹, fuelled by data which are, notwithstanding, scientific, but culminate in disconcerting results when they are not purely hallucinatory². In his work, the perceptible is just an instance of the invisible. The unsaid, the stroboscopic, and the infinite motif are some of the appearances stemming from processes of reverberation, themselves triggered by the looping of a repertory of knowledge. Retinal certainties fall apart in the face of an accelerated succession of scientific formulae and historical data³, thus giving way to an ‘amplified’ reality.”


1. Gosh, Grivet is the only artist on Earth who has discovered that making art involves a process. How frightfully clever.

2. If your scientific process culminates in hallucinatory results, you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re Albert Hoffmann and you’ve accidentally invented LSD; in that case, carry on.

3. Is this just a garbled, pretentious account of Op Art?

4. How does one loop a repertory of knowledge? This would be tautological if it wasn’t simply gibberish, since a repertory or repertoire is by definition a selection of works that are (or can be) performed, presented or repeated at regular short intervals. Or is this another highfalutin way of saying that the artist doesn’t have many ideas and just does the same thing over and over again?

5. What’s a “retinal certainty”? Retinal certainty implies there can be retinal indecision. “Um, sorry, brain… not sure if I received any photons. I think there were a few. Let me check again and get back to you, OK?




    […] My original commentary on this text is here: Lacuna Space-Time Vortex Mimesis Interrogation. […]

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