22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Pola Oloixarac

Portrait Pola Oloixarac
© Denise Giovanelli

Born in Buenos Aires in 1977, the Argentinian writer, journalist and translator Pola Oloixarac studied philosophy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA).

Her debut »Las teorías salvajes« (2008; Eng. »Savage Theories«, 2017) sparked a fierce debate over the influence of Argentina’s left-wing intelligentsia and predominant sexism. Praised by the writer Ricardo Piglia as the »great event of the new Argentinian narrative«, she made it onto the »Granta Magazine« list of best young Spanish-language novelists in 2010, and also attended the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her next novel, »Las constelaciones oscuras« (2015; tr. Dubious constallations), which begins at the end of the 19th century and ends in 2024, starts with the expedition of a group of European explorers to Latin America in the year of Darwin’s death, which ends in a night of ecstasy during which all barriers between life and death fall away. A hundred years later, the tryst between an anthropologist and an aircraft structural engineer in the subtropical heat of a Brazilian summer beget Cassio Liberman Brandão da Silva. He will later make a name for himself in the 1990s and be celebrated by the international hacker scene for the particularly complex and insidious computer viruses he creates. Eventually this increasingly isolated nerd will start to hybridize digital with genetic data; by 2024 Cassio is working on a project in Southern Argentina that has managed to extend the universe of computer viruses to human DNA. Oloixarac’s dystopia refers to the meanwhile common practice in Argentina of gathering and storing the genetic and biometric data of Argentina’s citizens on a large scale. »Las constelaciones oscuras« is a visionary and philosophical novel rich in metaphors, its language hard-edged. It mocks the Darwinism of the 19th century and naive belief in progress, and presages the beginning of the end of the Anthropocene.

Oloixarac wrote the libretto for »Hércules en el Mato Grosso«, which debuted in 2014 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. The opera centers on the scientific expedition to the Amazon conducted by the French-Brazilian photographer Hércules Florence and the German naturalist Baron Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff. Oloixarac is a founding editor of »The Buenos Aires Review«, a bilingual internet journal that presents contemporary literature and literary criticism in the Americas. She has also written articles on Argentine politics and culture for the »New York Times«, »Rolling Stone«, »The Telegraph«, »Clarín«, »Folha de S. Paulo« and the BBC World Service. Oloixarac lives between San Francisco, California, and Berlín, a small street in the northwest of Buenos Aires.