Best Effort Network

Olia Lialina

Best Effort Network (2015/ 2020) refers to the way data packets find their way to a destination. This process is hidden and so we rarely see how packets are sometimes lost, bounced back, resent or received (or not). The work makes this process more tangible: Olia spins round and round on the carousel and if she disappears it means the website ( has been loaded on a different browser on a different screen. Olia will reappear when the request reaches the top of the queue of waiting browsers.

Best Effort Network utilises a “best effort network” and so doesn’t provide any guarantee that data is delivered as expected or that the delivery meets any metric of quality: a comment on the parallels between the relinquishing of responsibility within the worlds of politics, social networks and consumerism once a product, post or policy is out of the hands of the maker.

During the run of the exhibition more locations will join the packet switching experiment: Best Effort Network will be on display at HeK (Basel), The Photographers’ Gallery (London), the Open Data Institute (London) and BOM (Birmingham Open Media,Birmingham).


Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication
2020 online and at the Open Data Institute

Data Types

Closed, Commercial, Object, Real-time, Retrieved, Social, State

About the Artist

Olia Lialina was born in Moscow in 1971 and now based in Germany, Olia Lialina is among the best-known participants in the 1990s scene – an early-days, network-based art pioneer. Her early work had a…
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