CtC’s Artist of the Month for August is Germany-based, Russian artist Olia Lialina (1971, Moscow).

Stealing the attention of an opening night’s crowd, Olia Lialina stood up addressing the patrons reminding them of a common misconception, “The Internet and the Web are not the same. The Internet is older and bigger, it is a distributed network born in 1969 and turned into a global Internet work at the very beginning of the 80s. The Web is younger” (Lialina, 2013). This seems to be a norm for those working within new media, even if it’s a bit inconceivable for one of the Internet’s pioneering artists, and founder of the infamous net.art movement, to still be making this clarification to an Internet savvy society. Yet, maybe this is just a normality of life for practitioners of the early Web. In 2014, Lialina published on Rhizome.org “Notes on Being Net Artist”, stating:

“18 years of being net artist were 18 years of

explaining difference in between net art and web art
explaining difference in between net.art and net art
removing the dot from net.artist
being called media artist
being mixed up with the austrian artist Lia
being called cyberfeminist” (Lialina, 2014).

Throughout Lialina’s career she has strived to make these distinctions clear about online practices, while continuously pushing the boundaries of the Internet medium through a combination of performative gestures, and cinema, within a networked culture. One of her earliest pieces, My Boyfriend came back from the War (1996), played with these notions, broaching the borders of cinema and that of the webpage. Lev Manovich in his Language of New Media book, describe the interactivity of the net practices to be in-line with that of traditional cinema, and utilised the work of Lialina as a case example for his concept: “As the narrative activates different parts of the screen, montage in time gives way to montage in space. Put differently, we can say that montage acquires a new spatial dimension” (manovich.net, 2002).

4.My boyfriend came back from the war (1996), Screenshot

My boyfriend came back from the war (1996), Screenshot, Olia Lialina

In another early piece, Agatha Appears (1997, recently restored in 2008), she took this process of the cinematic montage a step forward, by integrating, as part of the narrative’s progression, the displacement of the viewer position on the Web. In essence, the audience members would find themselves in different URLs with each new piece of the story, making the piece not just a fictional journey, but a physical one too through the spatial vastness of the Internet.

Olia Lialina recently participated in the exhibition, Electronic Superhighway, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and celebrated a 20-year anniversary of the MBCBFTW show, online since 1996, MU, Eindhoven. She has also taken part in the online group exhibition ‘Other Contemporary Materialities,’ curated by Constant Dullaart, available from Carroll/Fletcher’s new online platform, Onscreen. To experience Lialina’s online works please follow the links to the selected artworks below:

  1. Agatha Appears (1997, Restored 2008) [http://www.c3.hu/collection/agatha/]
  1. Summer (2013) [http://art.teleportacia.org/olia/summer/]
  1. Once Upon (2011 – 2012) [http://1x-upon.com/]
  1. My boyfriend came back from the war (1996) [http://www.teleportacia.org/war/]
  1. gif (2013) [http://www.collection.evan-roth.com/olia_lialina/clear.gif/]

For the month of August, CtC will present a selection of four works by Olia Lialina as cover images on our social media.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to discover the next one.

Olia Lialina’s Webpage/Gallery: http://art.teleportacia.org/

Alejandro Ball


Lialina, O. (2013) “OFFLINE ART: new2 speech by Olia Lialina.” Datenform.de [Online] available from: http://datenform.de/blog/offline-art-opening-speech-by-olia-lialina/ [last accessed 30/07/16].

Lialina, O. (2014) “Notes on Being Net Artist.” Rhizome.org [Online] available from: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2014/apr/30/being-net-artist/ [last accessed: 30/07/16].

Silva, R. (2002) “Histories of Internet Art.” Manovich.net [Online] available from: http://manovich.net/index.php/projects/histories-of-internet-art-interview [last accessed: 02/08/16].

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