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A Foray into the Worlds of Imaginary Animals and Humans

This essay places Flusser’s What if? (2022) and his experiments with Louis Bec’s Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste (Scientific Institute of Paranaturalist Research – I.S.R.P.), in conver-sation with Joan Fontcuberta’s Fauna exhibit (1985-89). It understands both Flusser’s and Fontcuberta’s experiments as being line with the modernist obsession with fake sciences, especially the pataphysical work of Alfred Jarry. The essay argues that the strangeness in Flusser’s What if? comes from a particular form of reversing the focus of scientific investigation, forcing readers to look inward to the role of scientific writing, and the scientist, and their role in framing the truths they claim to find.

Imaginary Animals (PDF 294.06 KB)

Bibliophagus convictus – Relatório 313 sobre o incidente “Caso Alegria” / Bibliophagus convictus – Report 313 on the “Alegria Case” Incident

This fictional work composed of both text and images is based on the short text “Thirteenth Scenario: Chemical Industry” from the series of philosophical fictions What If? (Flusser 2022: 47-49). In his text, Vilém Flusser creates a fantastic insect that feeds on texts, the Bibliophagus convictus. Honoring the fictional endeavor of this philosopher, we seek to expand the original scenario, respecting certain data provided by the author and filling in some gaps left open. In the illustrated part, we present a series of photographs made from three-dimensional representations of the insect in its habitat. These illustrate its reproductive cycle, with the different stages of development of the organism. The literary component aims to reproduce a fictitious official and institutional communication between intelligence services in an autocratic, futuristic society with fascist characteristics.