On Exactitude in Science, 2023

Giclée Print on Baryta paper
40 x 40 cm
3 + 1 AP

On Exactitude in Science (2023) results from the scanning of the page one hundred and eighty-one of “Labyrinths” (1962) by Jorge Luís Borges.

The short story, of only one page, apparently seems appropriated from a work of  the — fictional — author "Suárez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Book IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, 1658". In this tale, Luís Borges imagines an empire where the science of cartography becomes so precise that only a single map, one-to-one scale of an entire empire will suffice.

The story itself is a conceptual appropriation of Lewis Carroll developed in “Sylvie and Bruno Concluded” (1889). Later this short fiction story developed by JBL became a metaphor often appropriated by authors such as Umberto Eco, Jean Beaudrillard, among others. Thus, by describing this fictional map ‘on the scale of a mile to a mile’, JBL poetically questions the limits of objectivity, science, and representation —reflexive concepts, very much present within my practice.

I have read and re-read this story over and over again, just as this book. I wanted to work on this story, revealing the problematics my own work dwells and, to be exact, I had to reproduce it too.

By scanning a copy of a book I’ve carried exhaustively with me over the years — some even mokingly have claimed that it’s the only book I have ever read — the book itself becomes a map of a site; not only to my practice, but to the use, wear, sweat, stains, tear and other subtle signs of time.

João Bragança Gil
September 2023