arebyte Gallery are pleased to announce Best Effort Network, a series of new and re-made works from 2013 - 2020 by 90’s net art pioneer Olia Lialina. The exhibition comprises Summer (2013), Best Effort Network (2015/2020), and Hosted (2020). This exhibition will be Olia’s first solo presentation in London.

Spanning more than 25 years, Olia Lialina’s work has made her an important voice in new media art and theory. Often gestural and illustrative, her works address the systematic nature of the Internet through manifestations of intimacy between hardware, software and human mediation. In addition to working solely, direct and ancillary collaborative efforts with other artists, websites and browsers are brought into play to reveal the complex networks of data flow.

Creating links between the physical body and the virtual space, Olia presents herself in constructed online spaces through her ongoing Network Portraits series and GIF models. In Summer (2013) and Best Effort Network (2015), accessing and revealing the underlying codes and protocols of developers. While an adoption of experimental cinematic methodology, employing what media theorist Lev Manovich has characterized as spatial and temporal montage, is seen in her user-generated “netfilm” My Boyfriend Came Back From The War (1996) and user-generated story Agatha Appears (1997).

If something is in the net it should speak in net language.

(Olia Lialina)

Positioning browsers, hyperlinks, HTML tags, GIFs, (amongst many other things) as spaces for art, Olia Lialina dissects the language surrounding online culture and production by using the Internet as a medium for artistic intervention and storytelling. The inherent entanglements of the Internet landscape are brought into the work. The presentation of these underlying elements, prevalent in working with the Web as a medium, are shown in various ways, and in part explore the architecture of the Internet through IP networks and the movement of data from server to server.

Internet Protocol (IP) networks are often described as ‘best effort’ networks, meaning the way the network processes data does not discriminate as to what that data is; ie, the network gives its ‘best effort’ to deliver every package of data as quickly as it can. However, it does not guarantee that full packets will be delivered, or that it will treat important financial data any differently to data of a meme. All data is therefore homogenised within the network.