Olia Lialina

Electronic Superhighway @ Whitechapel, Jan 28 – May 15

25 January 2016

A massive survey of the impact of the internet and computer technologies on art practice is happening at London’s Whitechapel Gallery opening on January 28 and running until May 15.

Electronic Superhighway will bring together over 100 artworks spanning four decades between 1966 and 2016. It will be curated in reverse, so that the viewer will walk progressively towards the most historical experiments in media and sensory technology.

The survey show will include work by Amalia Ulman, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, The Yes Men, Hito Steyerl, Ryan Trecartin, Olia Lialina, Lynn Hershman Leeson, who’s work Lorna was one of the first interactive installations, and Nam June Paik, from whose musings on the future of the internet and art in 1974 the show borrows its title.

See the Whitechapel’s event page for more details.**

Olia Liana, 'Summer' (2013). Courtesy the artist and artist-host websites
Olia Liana, ‘Summer’ (2013). Courtesy the artist and all artist-host websites.

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DRKRM @ DAM Gallery, Oct 30 – Jan 16

30 October 2015

DAM gallery opens DRKRM, a new group show exploring GIFs as artworks, running at their Berlin space from October 30 to January 16, 2016.

DRKRM focuses in on the different aspects of GIF animation as art forms and their widespread distribution in the last few decades, becoming a kind of coded and somewhat sophisticated new language. “GIF animations”, the press release states, “are subject to specific principles”. The gallery in turn decided to use these principles to create a “Darkroom” of animations projected onto multiple screens.

Participating artists include Emma Talbot, Manfred Mohr, Faith Holland, Lorna MillsOlia LialinaDriessens & Verstappen, Kim Asendorf, and Anthony Antonellis.

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Impakt Festival 2015 @ Utrecht, Oct 28 – Nov 1

28 October 2015

The five-day multimedia Impakt Festival 2015 takes over the Dutch city of Utrecht and its Theater Kikker from October 28 to November 1.

This year’s festival, titled The Future of the Past, investigates “perceptions of past, present and future in a time when information is constantly recorded, be it consciously or unconsciously” through a series of exhibitions, lectures and screenings throughout Utrecht.

The festival kicks off with a sold-out Daan Roosegaarde event on October 28, followed by one with author and New Republic editor Evgeny Morozov on October 29, a group exhibition featuring Morozov along with Evan Roth and Olia Lialina among others on October 30, another with Cécile B. Evans among others on October 31, and the last group show with Egge van der Poel and others on November 1.

See the festival website for details. **


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Aram Bartholl @ Dam Gallery, Sep 12 – Nov 1

10 September 2014

Aram Bartholl‘s solo exhibition, Hurt me plenty, is happening at Berlin’s DAM Gallery, opening September 12 and running to November 1.

As a pioneering net artist tracking the evolution (or devolution, depending on how you look at it) of the internet and network culture, Bartholl’s latest exhibition follows a preoccupation with the integration – or interference rather – of the online IRL, along with the growing threat to personal freedom associated with that.

Inspired by questions and developments engaging “humankind’s ‘entry’ into the digital realm and the role of the first person as ‘shooter’,” the Berlin-based artist will present large-scale deconstructions of pixel imaging stereotypes, along with works exploring issues of “privacy, surveillance and net neutrality”.

The event will open with an introduction by fellow Web 1.0 veteran Olia Lialina and a performance titled DATALOVE, where the audience is encouraged to “BYOD – Bring Your Own Drive, and crush it” in  demonstrating the security risks of disused hard drives, laptops and servers.

Read an interview with Aram Bartholl and see the DAM Gallery website for details. **

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Click Click Click @ Whitebox Art Center, Sep 2

1 September 2014

To close off its Coded After Lovelace group exhibition, curated by Faith Holland and Nora O’ Murchú, New York’s Whitebox Art Center will be hosting the Click Click Click screening of GIFs and video on  September 2, from 7 to 10 pm.

Presenting work by a slew of contemporary artists, including Lorna Mills, Jennifer Chan, and Claudia Maté, as well as Sabrina Ratté, Raquel Meyers and Hannah Black, the event aims to present “new gestures of digital image making”.

As a survey of practices within the medium spanning “GIFs, augmented performances, green screen keying, collage, appropriation, processing, 3D renders and more”, the event follows the Coded After Lovelace exhibition examining the role of art and new technologies in responding to the contemporary condition.

Inspired by the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, and featuring her creative descendants including Lillian Schwartz, Arleen Schloss, Olia Lialina, Claudia Hart, Carla Gannis, Rosa Menkman and Jillian Mayer, Coded After Lovelace tracks the influence of the past in constructing the present and looking towards the future with Click Click Click.

See the Whitebox Art Center events page for details. **

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Coded After Lovelace (2014) exhibition photos + GIFs

27 August 2014

Presumably named after artist and mathematician Ada Lovelace -or 19th century computer programmer and maker of the first algorithm – the Coded After Lovelace exhibition tracks the evolution of ‘digital art’ before it became a buzzword. Curators Faith Holland and Nora O’ Murchú open the press release with a quote from a book, itself titled after said slang – Digital Art (2003) – where Christian Paul announces:

“Artists have always been among the first to reflect on the culture and technology of their time, and decades before the digital revolution had been officially proclaimed, they were experimenting with the digital medium”


Herewith are those experimenters from this inter-generational survey of artists exploring technology as creative medium, from pioneer net- artist and archaelogist Olia Lialina, who’s been “keeping the GIF running” since reviving Chuck Poynter’s ‘Dancing Girl‘ in 1999, to Carla Gannis‘ challenge to military-industrial algorithms and surveillance in the digital assemblages of Non-Facial Recognition.


Downtown New York new media artist Arleen Schloss explores language and the alphabet in the tradition of literary daughter Lovelace (her dad happened to be poet Lord Byron) using laser projections, while shifting representations of identity and virtuality are central to Claudia Hart‘s poetic subversion of commercial 3D graphics.


Meanwhile, noise, video compression and feedback corrupts the file formats of Rosa Menkman‘s cultural, political and historical deconstructions through glitch, while  Jillian Mayer brings comfort in the face of a contemporary digital dystopia that early computer-mediated artist Lillian Schwartz, and Lovelace herself, might only have imagined. **

Exhibition photos, top-right.

Coded After Lovelace group exhibition is on at New York’s Whitebox Art Center, running from August 14 and closing with the Click Click Click screening on September 2, 2014.

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Digital Revolution @ The Barbican, Jul 3 – Sep 14

3 July 2014

Digital Revolution, an exhibition of digital creativity by the Digital Revolution platform, is running at London’s The Barbican from July 3 through to September 14.

The interactive exhibition brings together (for the first time in the UK) a selection of artists who push the boundaries of their fields using digital media, including architects, filmmakers, designers, musicians and game developers.

Digital Revolution will feature new commissions from, among others, Yuri SuzukiRafael Lozano-HemmerOlia Lialina, as well as big-name musicians like will.i.am and Björk.

See the Barbican exhibition page for details. **

Digital Revolution Trailer from Barbican Centre on Vimeo.



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One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age 1st Anniversary

7 February 2014

Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied‘s One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Tumblr is celebrating a year since posting its first screenshot of homepages retrieved from the wreckage of GeoCities.

The veteran net artists, with the help of online archivists Archive Team, managed to salvage what they could following Yahoo’s unprecedented dumping of the Web hosting service’s content in 2006 and have kept its remnants in circulation on Tumblr ever since.

As an invaluable tribute to web user culture and digital folklore, they’re marking the occasion by re-posting the three most popular pages, keeping as close as they can to the original URLs and optimising the pages for contemporary browsers. Not surprisingly, the wildly popular ‘Divorced Dads Page’ still stands at number one.

Read an overview of Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenchied’s artist talk on the project from last year and see the  One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age research blog for details. **

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‘Speed Show [2.0]’ @ Kubrick, Hong Kong, Dec 8

4 December 2013

A new installment of artist Aram Bartholl‘s Speed Show is running at Hong Kong’s Kubrick Web Shop, on December 8.

Local and international artists Audrey Samson, Daniel Howe, Fannie Ng, Olia Lialina, Tonio Mundry, Winnie Soon and Helen Pritchard will exhibit work exploring “the playful, political, and aesthetic possibilities” of the internet-as-medium in itself. The one-off event follows Berlin-based artist Bartholl’s concept of presenting “browser based internet art” in the context of an exhibition opening, the public cybercafe becoming the gallery. The implications, from an inclusive, DIY perspective, are endless.

See the Speed Show website for details. **

Tonio Mundry, ‘Kinect_Selfie_!’
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‘Re-calculating Virtual Ratios’ @ Import Projects, Oct 23 + Nov 13

21 October 2013

In collaboration with Berlin’s Import Projects, writer Elvia Wilk will be exploring the virtual vs IRL distinction that has generally become accepted as non-existent through two discussion panels running October 23 and November 13.

Interrogating this still problematic assumption of digital dualism, while looking at the social implications of its deconstruction, the panels will feature artists and writers charged with distilling a specific project to a 10-minute presentation, with discussion to follow. The two days will also be separated into two themes, with Jenna Sutela, Nadim Samman, Jesse Darling and Luke Munn speaking on ‘Opacity’ on October 23. Beny Wagner, Olia Lialina, Ben Vickers and Asli Serbest + Mona Mahall will be covering ‘Transparency’ on November 13, to coincide with Import Projects’ launch of Wagner’s Invisible Measure.

See the Elvia Wilk’s website for more details. **

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Olia Lialiana + Dragan Espenschied in conversation @ Photographer’s Gallery

16 May 2013

Nestling themselves in a defiantly naïve internet aesthetic, Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied have been working with each other for years and it shows. Sharing an easy manner and dead pan sense of humour, the net artists, researchers and editors of Digital Folklore have had a wealth of experience to draw from when elaborating on their work keeping the home pages of now defunct free web-hosting service, GeoCities, in circulation. For their One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery, it’s not enough to collate and archive the 1,000+ gigabytes of user culture discarded when social media networks like Facebook and Twitter conquered with their user-friendly templates and official presentation. That meant a restriction on what Espenschied calls the “extreme creativity” of the ordinary people that migrated towards it.

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age.
A pioneering force in digital archaeology, taking particular interest in the behaviours and interactions among non-professional web users, Lialina and Espenschied explore the graphic motifs and aesthetics that recur within this fascinating, idiosyncratic culture, from generic star and water-themed wallpapers to the creative use of scroll bars. The origins of ubiquitous gif animations like Chuck Poynter’s the famous dancing girl and three-chord piano music as “the sound of low bandwidth” make for fascinating discussion. That’s especially when exploring it from the view of that pervasive misconception that net art and culture can exist independently of context. Hence, Lialina demonstrates how an early artwork has changed through time –as browsers, operating systems and software evolve –as well as the problems of presenting net art in other increasingly archaic formats, like print and in galleries. The latter, with the expectation of low-res imagery working IRL and the former with its own typographical and design language, means the mutation of the work’s original intention becomes inevitable.

In the context of a continually fluctuating internet culture, it’s a matter of course that net art would shift with it but what Lialiana and Espenschied are here to promote, is an awareness among its users that their own personal narratives are at risk, when allowing for what they call the “professionalisation of the web”. Because as the pervasive reach of social media networks and their templates supersede that online DIY culture that the GeoCities homepage represents, then they’re not only restricting a users capabilities for self-expression but appropriating and controlling their histories -that transient “digital folklore”, if you will.

By drawing from the crude aesthetics and bizarre nuances of early user culture, as seen in collaborative works like Zombie & Mummy (2003), Lialina and Espenschied show that user culture is important too and well worth preserving.**

Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied’s One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age runs from April 18 to June 17, 2013.

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REAL_DANCING_GIRL updates her look

25 April 2013

Originally created by Chuck Poynter and championed by net art progenitor to the likes of aqnb interviewee Jennifer Chan, Olia Lialina, REAL_DANCING_GIRL has been updated to suit the new era. Originally appearing in 1999 on the Rhizome splash page, the new look dancing girl can be found on her own tumblr where she’s joined by a male companion and a manifesto of sorts that goes as follows:

“I’ve been dancing ever since I was created back in the days. With the arise of the internet I became a vernacular symbol of freedom among the net, and a source of inspiration for countless users in the pre-history of the web. The advent of social networks brought a severe, consequently change in the aesthetic of the internet; that’s why I felt the need to renew my look, giving myself a more “topical” appearance. But don’t be fooled by this: my ‘hula’ remains the same ;-)”

It also ends with a generous “feel free – as you’ve always been – to make me dance among your web universe!”**

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