Some say, "Better red than dead." Some say, "Better well read than well bred." Others couldn't care less and go to the pub. As for me, I'm reading between the lines, looking for the real story behind Online Newspapers.
email interview with Olia Lialina by James Allan
When they write do they sing
a happy song or a sad one?
That sounds cruel...so they couldn't even whistle a little Prokofiev?
So much for that myth. In North America the journalists have an old joke
that goes like this, "What's black and white and red all over? And
the answer is, "A newspaper." Is there a joke as funny as this
A copy of The Guardian measures 37 x 60 cm but the full size images in
'Online Newspapers' only measure 19.5 x 28 cm; 75.4% less. Are the online
versions from Russia? If so, why are they so small when Russia is so big?
As the cursor moves across the page a window opens to reveal a bitonal
version of the current page thereby making a comment on visual literacy,
search methodologies and the Romantic obsession with transcendence, purity,
clarity and self discovery. The piece reminds me of those Advent calendars
where you open a window and find a little piece of chocolate that you
can eat or give to a friend. Do you like chocolate?
What was your favorite Christmas present ever?
There's plenty of flooding but it never snows! It's pretty mild here in
Oxford, is it cold in Stuttgart?
I wonder if we could talk a bit more about chocolate and its relationship
to net.art? Do you think chocolate affects creativity? For example: Jodi's
work is rich and complex with a mysterious after taste just like Belgium
While in the U.S. the work of MTAA, like American chocolate, looks like
the real thing but when you taste it you see they're just kidding, what
you've bought is something completely different (http://www.hersheys.com/).
Do you think I'm reading too much into this?
I thought fame would be sweet but heavy. Is it really "bitter and
If you were a journalist what section of the newspaper would you like
to write for?
The cinematic qualities of 'MBCBFTW' have been noted elsewhere and the
use of gifs in 'Will-N-Testament' (particularly in the days of dial-up)
added a profound emotive layer rarely seen in animation however it wasn't
until you created a splash page for Rhizome in 1998 that you used an animated
gif in a more Baudrillardian "America" sense. In your current
piece animation, as pseudo-faux-simulacra, figures prominently. After
looking at all this animation I have to assume you must really, really
like cartoons. Do you like Bugs Bunny?
They didn't show Bugs Bunny in Russia? How did Russian children learn
the value of sarcastic, self-centred individualism? Can you talk a bit
more about becoming "an animated gif model"?
This is a two part question. Do you read the gardening section? Have you
ever seen any articles about potatoes?
There is much prejudice against potato growers. Just the other day I showed
my potatoes to a neighbour and he said, "Ha, my 10 year old could
grow better potatoes than that!" But, trust me, it's harder than
it looks. I assume that since you're Russian you like red potatoes. Is
this correct? Do you prefer them boiled with butter and salt or baked
with sour cream and chives?
Well, those are all very good questions but enough about me. At this point
I'd like to thank you for answering all the emails I've sent over the
past few days. Would you like to add any final comments?
Olia Lialina is the Professor of New Media, Merz Academie, Stuttgart
James Allan is the Head of Imaging Services, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford