Jean-Baptiste Bernadet
On Knowing & Not
Excerpted text by John D’Agata
Karma, New York, 2013
128 pages
8 12 × 10 12 inches
Edition of 1,000


“Ten thousand years from now, Vega, not Polaris, will be our North Star. The space satellite Voyager, which was launched in 1979, and which has been traveling 40,00 miles per hour, will be closer to the absolute emptiness of space than it will be our home. Even the Earth’s continents, which have been migrating slowly since they initially were formed, will be 850 feet farther apart…and while we won’t be living longer than we currently are living, Frank Tipler’s book The Physics of Immortality says that if we’re wealthy we’ll be able to buy the brains of younger body donors, download our memories into their minds, and then live through them vicariously until we need another donor.”

In 2011, D’Agata and Bernadet lived in Marfa, Texas. Upon hearing D’Agata read from his then recently published About A Mountain, Bernadet wrote that he “felt the themes of failure, of attempt, of knowledge, of understanding, of retaining the feelings and trying to understand their meanings, which was exactly what I was looking for in painting.” On Knowing & Not includes the last section of About a Mountain, the section Bernadet heard D’Agata read a few years prior, and a large selection of Bernadet’s paintings.