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A few years ago, after we had first created the fictional world of XPT, my brother (who’s a lot more familiar with the art world than I was then or now) alerted me to Finnish artist Alvar Gullichsen’s Bonk Business Inc.
> …a multiglobal industrial enterprise at the forefront of 3rd millennium technologies. The company is the world leader in fully Defunctioned Machinery, Cosmic Therapy applications, Advanced Disinformation Systems (ADS), Repacked consumer products and LBH (Localized Black Hole) technology.

All this began when an anchovy fisherman’s family more than 150 years ago discovered an ancient recipe for Garum, a “mildly stimulating condiment made from the anchovy” and anchovy oil, which “greased the wheels of Nordic industry for many decades until overfishing by interlopers in the Baltic caused the Great Oil Crisis of 1883″ (all this and more from the hilariously deadpan Bonk History page). Bonk’s re-definition of R&D as Repacking and Disinformation seems like a good definition of what we’ve been doing at XPT in the last few years too. (Personally, I’ve always wanted to repackage an airline, turning air travel into something much more transformative – like Kahuna Airlines in Pynchon’s Vineland – and for a while Tim and I worked intermittently on an idea called LA Jet (La Jetée without the ‘e’s…) along those lines. Perhaps it’s time to start working on the livery again.)

The machines, photographs, products, artifacts, graphics and written history that made up the world of Bonk were exhibited widely in the mid to late 90s and the company even featured in the first issue of Fast Company in a 1995 article entitled The Finnish Company that’s Never Done. Also worth checking out are Bonk team member Magnus Scharmanoff’s images of the various Bonk machines.

I was reminded of all of this when I discovered (by looking up the exact meaning of the cycling term Bonk on Wikipedia!) that Bonk’s web presence hadn’t stagnated as a bunch of first-generation websites and that there’s now a shiny modern website for the Bonk Museum in Uusikaupunki.