Olia Lialina, Something for Everyone
Olia Lialina’s exhibition, Something For Everyone is a poetic way to explore the Internet from a different perspective, discovering its architecture, secrets and treasures through the work of an artist, and perhaps gaining a slightly better understanding of a medium that is omnipresent in our lives.
The title Something For Everyone is an allusion to Tim Berners-Lee’s “This is for everyone”, Theodor Adorno’s “Something is provided for all so that none may escape”, and indirectly to Apple’s 80’s slogan “The computer for the rest of us”, as well as Clay Shirkey’s book title “Here Comes Everybody” that summed up web 2.0 revolution in 2009. It is also a name of a sculpter (2017) by Olia Lialina presented in the exhibition. The title also clearly brings to mind her practice as a net artist whose works are available to all on the Internet. But it goes beyond that—through her focus on amateur practices, digital folklore and raising user awareness (cf Users Rights), Lialina reminds us that the web is not solely the domain of major corporations and developers, but a public space for the people, where ordinary users play an important role.
Olia Lialina, Something For Everyone presents four works from the Net Portraits series, in which the artist invites us to delve into the particularities of the Internet: data transmission, URLs, various protocols and more.
The works Treasure Trove (2017 with Mike Tyka) and Lossless (2018) explore another aesthetic dimension dear to Lialina: “bling”and its devotees, whose amazing interjections sparkle across the web. The exhibition will also offer the opportunity to witness the unveiling of a new creation co-produced with Espace multimédia Gantner: False Memory. Perhaps a fond look back at the net’s primitive, utopian days and netstalgia phenomena?
Inviting net art pioneer Olia Lialina for an exhibition is also the occasion to (re)discover her ever-contemporary net.stories and indulge in a bit of media archeology. A restored and emulated original version of one of her first works, Agatha Appears (1997), will be on display and added to the EMG collection. Agatha Appears marks a period in the late 90s when the Internet, which had been essentially viewed as a place for information and discussion, became the backdrop for an experimental, cinematographic and theatrical approach that was online before web 2.0. This artistic repurposing of the Internet chimes with the theme of the retrospective at this year’s Entrevues Belfort festival: the web as material for screenwriting. The stage is set for a great collaboration.
Most of the exhibited works will be online, presented together, videoprojected, spacialized and displayed on our walls—a departure from the small-screen experience at home. While the works are accessible to anyone with a phone or computer, the exhibition format cultivates a different, contextualized interaction that is detached from our daily life and the devices we use to work, communicate and play.
 Users Rights was presented in 2018 at the exhibition Escaping the Digital Unease (curated by Domenico Quaranta, Raffael Dorig and Fabio Paris) https://userrights.contemporary-home-computing.org
 All these topics are addressed in Olia Lialina, Net Artist (2020), a book co-published by les Presses du Réel and Espace multimédia Gantner which takes an expanded, in-depth look at the ideas underpinning Olia Lialina’s work.
Opening on 12th september with Olia Lialina subject to sanitary conditions
Around the exhibition :
Olia Lialina, net artist (2020) Presses Du Réel – EMG’s co edition : published September 1st, 2020
with texts of Katrina Sluis – Annett Dekker – Ed Halter – Michael Connor – Olia Lialina – Valérie Perrin