Rotterdam's cybercafés, or 'belhuizen' as they are called in Dutch, have a dubious reputation and are often associated with diverse illegal activities – from money laundering to supporting terrorist activities. However, research conducted by the city has statistically shown that in reality only minor nuisances or problems actually arise from these locations.

In 2010, net artist Olia Lialina researched Rotterdam's cybercafés and physical and online so-called 'low culture' environments as part of her research fellowship at the Piet Zwart Institute and artist-in-residence work at Goethe-Institut Rotterdam. She will present, for the first time, the results of her research.

Olia Lialina is a curator, writer, net artist, and professor at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart.  Born in Russia, she is a self-proclaimed animated gif model whose work engages with the vernacular of the web in critical, insightful and playful ways. Her projects, such as MY BOYFRIEND CAME BACK FROM THE WAR and ANNA KARENINA GOES TO PARADISE, have been exhibited widely and are considered pioneering examples of early net art.  Next to these activities, most recently she co-edited with Dragan Espenschied, Digital Folklore, a book exploring user generated aesthetics and digital culture.

This event is a cooperation of the  Research Programme Communication in a Digital Age and the Networked Media Master orientation of the Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, with Goethe-Institut Rotterdam. It is connected to Olia Lialina's previous workshop, Digital Folklore and the Speed Show: Rebelhuis which took place in December 2010.

Forever in the 90s
Presentation by Olia Lialina on Rotterdam's cybercafés / belhuizen and related so-called 'low cultures' of new media.
Time: Wed., March 9 2011, 19.00
Location: Goethe-Institut Rotterdam, Westersingel 9, Rotterdam (nearby the Central Station)
image: Digital Folklore, ed. Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, 2009