Celeste Olalquiaga is a cultural historian interested in the contradictions of modernity and the residual aspects of modern culture. She has proposed kitsch as the cristallization of an imaginary experience. Currently at work on a re-examination of the myth of Medusa, she is also studying the evolving boundaries between nature and technology. An independent scholar, Celeste publishes, lectures and does artistic collaborations worldwide.
Her books include Megalopolis: Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities (1992) and The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience (1998).
Celeste Olalquiaga, Megalopolis: Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities. Book cover, 1992.
Megalopolis: Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities was published by University of Minnesota Press in 1992. Translated to Spanish (Monte Avila Editores, 1993) and Portuguese (Studio Nobel, 1998) it became a classic on postmodernity and is used in colleges and universities worldwide. Arguing that contemporary experience is mainly vicarious, that is, mediated by images and events, the book discusses the impact of high technology on daily life, the fears underlying the retro fashion of the 50’s and 60’s, the meaning and modes of perception of religious kitsch, the different expressions of urban decadence, and the nuances of the integration of American culture in Latin America and of «latin» culture in the US.
Megalopolis is now out of print.
2016 / 201606 / Präsentation
New Buenos Aires:
Tropical Babel: on a ruined mall stranded in Caracas