There’s No Place Like Time is a strange beast: a fictional catalogue of a real retrospective of experimental films by a videographer who never existed.
A collection of critical and biographical essays, stills, and reminiscences about Alana Olsen’s (a character who first appeared in Lance Olsen’s novel Theories of Forgetting) powerful body of work produced in relative anonymity, There’s No Place Like Time remembers an oeuvre of fewer than 30 videos that span roughly four decades and have influenced artists as varied as Lars von Trier, Douglas Gordon, and Martin Arnold.
Author Lance Olsen and filmmaker Andi Olsen have already begun staging Alana Olsen’s faux retrospective in galleries in Berlin and elsewhere. Enter those spaces and one enters a three-dimensional novel: a "real" place dedicated to the"unreal" career of one of America’s most unjustly overlooked artists. From her videos and the language surrounding them (including this catalogue) one is invited to infer Alana’s character, development, obsessions, and relationship with her equally fictive daughter, Aila, who curates the exhibits.
In one sense, then, There’s No Place Like Time is part of a larger conceptual work investigating the problems of identity construction and historical knowledge. In another it is an exploration of two questions: What does an aesthetics of obscurity looks like, and what is the connection between quality and quantity in the contemporary art world, where celebrity, lucrative simulation, and media saturation are equated with success?
Andi Olsen’s work has been exhibited across the U.S. and Europe. Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative fiction. Recipient of Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, DAAD Artist-in-Berlin, and N.E.A. fellowships, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, he teaches narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.
Learn more about upcoming publications, events, and news from Northwestern University Press.