In military parlance the terms asymmetrical and symmetrical are employed to refer to political provocations and diplomatic démarches, escalation and tension, and power dynamics of the highest order. Not specific to war, these terms also refer more generally to a set of relations that define our connections to power.
Since their first meeting on the eve of Y2K, Russian-born Olia Lialina, one of the best known participants in the 1990s net.art scene, and American artist Cory Arcangel have been involved in a deeply symmetrical relationship. Uniting them is an abiding preoccupation with the relationship between people and their computers, in particular computers connected to the internet. Their awareness of the cultural implications of the internet’s technical context—as it has shifted from a tool for military communications, to the “information superhighway” that promised open and equal exchange, to the increasingly asymmetric “content delivery system” it has become today—has resulted in two complex bodies of work in constant conversation with each other, seen here together for the first time.
In January 2017, this exhibition will tour to The Kitchen, New York.
United States born fine artist Cory Arcangel makes work in a wide range of media: composition, video, modified video games, performance, and the Internet. Recently he worked extensively with a team of computer experts from the Carnegie Mellon Computer Club, in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum, to unearth and preserve Warhol’s lost digital experiments. In 2014 he released his first novel, “Working On My Novel” published by Penguin. Currently he is the CEO of the non-aspirational lifestyle brand and publishing imprint, Arcangel Surfware.
His works have been exhibited & performed both online and at venues including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate, London; The Migros Museum, Zurich; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.
Moscow-born, German-based artist Olia 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), and Last Real Net Art Museum (2000), Online Newspapers (2004-2013) Summer (2013). Currently she is a professor at Merz Akademie in Germany. Lialina writes on digital culture, net art and web vernacular.
Her work has been exhibited extensively online and at venues including Ars Electronica, Linz; the New Museum, New York; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Transmediale, Berlin; Havana Biennial, Cuba; ACAF, Alexandria; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; ABC Gallery, Moscow; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Madison Square Park, New York; Barbican, London; LEAP, Berlin; MOTI, Breda.
Olia Lialina’s participation in this exhibition is generously supported by Goethe-Institut Toronto.