Olia Lialina

"Cyberspace is star backgrounds with blue underlined links on them."

Interview by Jacky Connolly 
Portrait by Natascha Goldenberg

From "One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age" Blog, 2012-Present

The Geocities blog is very popular.
It has a lot of followers for that kind of content. There are some pages that have become very popular. I would really like to make now a publication about this archive. I think the title would be “Bear With Me” or "Bare with me." That’s what a lot of people people say on their early pages.
I saw one site that you quoted on Twitter: "It's not the best website, but it will do."
I collect what people say about their own pages, what people think about the web in general. The users at that time didn't only try to make something special with their page, they were also very narrative. They tried to explain why they made the site, how it works, where to click exactly. Sometimes next to an "Under Construction" sign they would explain maybe when exactly things would come and what they would be.

From "One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age" Blog, 2012-Present

The narrative mode on these sites is very personal and revealing.
It’s because all the time they had to make choices. This frame or no frames? Should it work in Netscape or in Explorer? What screen resolution? I am now posting Vines of these sites as well, to document the music on the Geocities webpages. There is this book I ordered for my students called Designing for Emotion. The authors give advice to designers how to make pages that give the illusion that there is a real person behind it. This whole culture is ignored, even when they tried to achieve the effects that were fully present at that time. With the Tumblr, more people are getting acquainted and educated with the past of the web which is nice.
In A Vernacular Web, you were saying that these modes of web design will return. You already see it on Tumblr, it's now stylish to use certain ‘90s web design elements when creating a new site. It is significant to have the original websites preserved in this way. So much cultural-historical information about Internet culture is made accessible through these documents. How many more years will you be uploading?
We have material for 12 more years. It's crazy just to think about it. Will people get tired of it, will Tumblr be closed? I don’t know. Maybe our computer will die. We have some backups. Every day, I plan to stop to look at the new pages, and just again to go through from the beginning until this particular moment, because otherwise, I will never start to make something meaningful out of it. There's already too much information.

From the "User Rights" Petition on Contemporary Home Computing, 2013

From Sex Magazine #8 Summer 2014
Labelled Art