[spectre] Digital Folklore, exhibition at HMKV, Dortmund (Germany), until 1 November 2015

Inke Arns inke.arns at hmkv.de
Sat Oct 3 19:49:51 CEST 2015

Dear Spectres,

our exhibition „Digital Folklore“, curated by Olia Lialina (Stuttgart) and Dragan Espenschied (New York), has been extended until 1 November 2015! If you happen to be in the region, please come by and check out this amazing project.

All the best,


HMKV Dortmund (Germany)
25 July - 1 November 2015

`Computer and net culture are only marginally determined by technological innovation. After all, it is irrelevant who has invented the microchip, the mouse, the TCP/IP protocol or the World Wide Web, or what was the rationale behind them. What matters, rather, is who is using them, and to what avail. If computer technology has any cultural significance, it is indeed solely owed to its users. Yet their own creative efforts, from shiny-stars live wallpapers to pictures of cute cats or rainbow gradients, are mostly derided as kitsch or general cultural waste. Digital Folklore argues that this apparent aesthetic clutter, created by users for users, is the most important, beautiful and widely misunderstood language of New Media.´

The world’s first exhibition around “digital folklore” is based on the archive One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age, which comprises the remains of 381,934 GeoCities homepages made by amateurs in the pre-industrial era of the World Wide Web. GeoCities, the first free web hosting service, was created in 1994. Only five years later, it sold to Yahoo!, then an Internet giant, which eventually shut it down in 2009. Although GeoCities holds an eminent place in the short history of the WWW as one of its most visited servers at one point, it was short-lived and has already fallen into oblivion. All that is left are the legends and rituals surrounding it.

Among the 28 million+ files – which were hastily copied a few days before total deletion – are user-built personal websites, fan, mourning, recipe, arts and crafts, computer game and domestic pet pages, rotating “Welcome To My Homepage” and “Under Construction” signs, shiny-stars wallpapers and jittery animated characters. For the purpose of this exhibition, these and many other manifestations have been digitally restored and reinterpreted by artists.

An exhibition by the GeoCities Research Institute and HMKV.

Digital Folklore is a sequel to the immensely popular exhibition „Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst“ (Now I Can Help Myself) - The 100 best Internet video tutorials shown at HMKV in 2014 (check out 

Digital Folklore gathers for the first time works inspired by GeoCities by the net artist and folklorist 
Olia Lialina (@GIFmodel), 
the artist and digital conservator Dragan Espenschied (@despens), 
and their students from Merz Akademie. 
They are supported by the head of the Archive Team 
Jason Scott (@textfiles), 
the US artist Joel Holmberg (@dotkalm) 
and the expert for Chinese net culture Gabriele de Seta (@SanNuvola).

Prof. Olia Lialina (Stuttgart) and Dragan Espenschied (New York)

Admission to the exhibition is free - as AOL-free minutes!


Merz Akademie - Hochschule für Gestaltung, Kunst und Medien, Stuttgart

Dortmunder U – Center for Art and Creativity
Cultural Department of the City of Dortmund
Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia


ARTE Creative

Dr. Inke Arns
Artistic Director
Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) at the Dortmunder U
Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse, 44137 Dortmund 
Office: Hoher Wall 15, 44137 Dortmund, Germany
T + 49 - 231 - 496642-0
F + 49 - 231 - 496642-29

HMKV's Video of the Month
NEOZOON: Buck Fever (2012)
1 - 31 October 2015

Digital Folklore
HMKV, Dortmund
25 July - 1 November 2015 (extended!)

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