Portfolio by Olivia Erlanger

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

There will come soft rains.

Olivia Erlanger 1

Olivia Erlanger What is regeneration?

Dr. Alejandro Sanchez, Investigator Stowers Institute for Medical Research Regeneration is the innate capacity of certain organisms and some body parts in some organisms to restore themselves after injury.

OE Is immortality possible?

AS Yes, but not very probable. Immortality of a biological system implies that the effects of time on the living physical entity have been mitigated to the point where either the components (proteins, DNA, RNA, and the many other biomolecules) that make up living entities have been reduced to negligible levels or completely eliminated. Because all living organisms are exposed to chance and random events every second of their existence, the likelihood that such events may have consequences on the viability of the organism is rather high. As such, a hypothetically immortal organism would have to find a way to repair both the normal wear and tear of just living and the vicissitudes inflicted on the organism by external factors. If this mitigation process involves the constant replacement of damaged body parts, a time will come when none of the original molecules composing the organism at its inception will be present, that is, when ALL of the original molecules would have been replaced. Which begs the question: Is such an organism the same or an entirely different one? This is an intriguing thought experiment dating back to ancient Greece. Here is a quote from Plutarch I used in one of my articles:

“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.” Plutarch (c. 46 – 120 C.E.), 75 C.E.

In other words, and at least for biological systems, immortality, does not equal immutability.

More here.

Olivia Erlanger 2

Olivia Erlanger How does emotion affect memory?

Robert Hopkins, Professor of Philosophy, New York University It affects it in various ways. In part, what we remember is not simply what happened, but how we felt about it at the time. So emotion can be part of what we remember. But our present feelings toward past events can also determine how we remember them: pushing us to recall them in a worse, or better, light than their past reality merits, in order that our sense of our past can cohere with our present attitudes and affects.

OE What is foresight?

RH It is the ability to anticipate how things will be.

More here.

Olivia Erlanger 3

Olivia Erlanger What is a system?

Sean Hogan, Cistus, Landscape Architect Both natural and human environment by default are an evolved system. It seems when we fail to realize we are just part of the bigger picture and when things don’t work on an immediate level that the system will move on with or without us.

OE What does disaster in your field mean?

SH Disaster ultimately comes from apathy, or I suppose, the loss of life qualities that force efforts and energy to excess corporate profit or religious fighting rather than common good (no, I do not have a coexist sticker on my car). With that, my field, at least as I practice it, is based on community and common good. With gathering places essentially seen as sacred and direct connections to the wonders of the natural world, maybe we can create nodes ofGesellschaft, or company where discussion and maybe some critical thinking are born. All this with a few plants and a bench? Maybe! Disaster comes when we are too busy to want these things—or worse, don’t know we should expect them!

More here.

Olivia Erlanger (b.1990) is a New York-based artist. Forthcoming and recent exhibitions include Dog Beneath the Skin (forthcoming) at Balice Hertling NY (New York); Seventeen (London); Fluxia (Milan); Marbriers 4 (Geneva); Important Projects (Oakland); Center (Berlin); and AIRBNB Pavilion (Venice). Erlanger also co-directs the New York project space Grand Century with Dora Budor and Alex Mackin Dolan. Dog Beneath the Skin opens June 10, 2015 at Balice Hertling NY at The Film Center, 630 9th Avenue. 

Errol Morris by Margot Livesey
Errol Morris Bomb 069

Sometime in the mid-1970s Errol Morris read a headline in the San Fransisco Chronicle—“450 Dead Pets To Go To Napa”— and decided to make a film about pet cemeteries. 

Two Poems by Joyelle McSweeney
Jm Tan
Listening to the Heart: Jacob Kirkegaard Interviewed by Julie Martin
Jacob Kirkegaard Testimonium 2500

Recordings of endless border walls, vast piles of garbage, and organs in the human body.