ARTIST TALK | Olia Lialina: The Whole Internet
Tuesday, 29 May 2018, at 6 p.m.

Olia Lialina

The Whole Internet

Artist talk


Moderna galerija Ljubljana, Cankarjeva ulica 15, Ljubljana

Tuesday, 29 May 2018, at 6 p.m.


In this talk digital explorer, archivist, GIF model and iconic pioneer Olia Lialina discusses the most important elements of the web from the mid 1990s and exposes the relationship between a new medium and its first users. The web of the mid 1990s was bright, rich, personal, slow and under construction. Today this relationship has dissipated as the Internet became a mass medium to accommodate dotcom ambitions, professional authoring tools and usability guidelines. Olia Lialina’s talk deals with the choices web masters of pre-social networks had to make in their work before web design became a profession, and about her choices today, being a designer, a passionate researcher of the vernacular web and a keeper of the One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age archive.


Today it's hard to find online pages made in mid 1990s, they vanished from the first pages of search results long time ago. On the top of it millions of them were killed when free web hosting GeoCities was closed by Yahoo in 2009.


GeoCities was the largest free hosting service in mid 1990s and the first home for many web users. But, with the advent and professionalization of Web 2.0, GeoCities become also synonymous for ‘bad taste’ and with the rise of social media users drastically lowered leading to the closure of the service. But before all was lost a handful of internet activists and archivists managed to rescue many of the pages and lately release one terabyte torrent of it.


The Geocities Research Institute (initiated by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied) downloaded these files, restored the web sites, and brought the culture of the ‘90s back to the web using contemporary infrastructure. This is how the One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age project started.

In her highly illustrated talk, the artist will introduce to the audience pearls of the early web culture, going much deeper than usual ‘Under Construction’ signs and animated GIFs nostalgia. Will show what it meant to make a web page technically, philosophically and ideologically. She will also talk about the unique technical setting use by the Geocities Research Institute to emulate old pages and what digital preservation really means. And, last but not least, she will talk about newer cases of deleted social networks and social services.



Olia Lialina is among the best-known participants in the 1990s scene - an early-days, network-based art pioneer. Her early work had a great impact on recognizing the Internet as a medium for artistic expression and storytelling. This century, her continuous and close attention to Internet architecture, "net.language" and vernacular web - in both artistic and publishing projects - has made her an important voice in contemporary art and new media theory.


Lialina has, for the past two decades, produced many influential works of network-based art: My Boyfriend Came Back from the War (1996), Agatha Appears (1997), First Real Net Art Gallery (1998), Last Real Net Art Museum (2000), Online Newspapers (2004-2018), Summer (2013).


Lialina is also known for using herself as a GIF model, and is credited with founding one of the earliest web galleries, Art Teleportacia. She is cofounder and keeper of One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age archive and a professor at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany.




Olia LialinaCeloten internet (The Whole Internet)

Solo exhibition

Aksioma | Project Space, Komenskega 18, Ljubljana

30 May – 13 July 2018


Exhibition opening: Wednesday, 30 May 2018, at 7 p.m.


Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2018


The lecture is a part of the ALUO uho events organized by The Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana.


In collaboration with Moderna Galerija / Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana.

Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.