In military parlance, the terms asymmetrical and symmetrical are employed to refer to political provocations and diplomatic démarches, escalation and tension, and power dynamics of the highest order. Not specific to war, these terms also refer more generally to a set of relations that define our connections to power.
On the eve of Y2K, Russian-born Olia Lialina—who is among the best-known participants in the 1990s net.art scene—first met American artist Cory Arcangel. Ever since, the artists have been deep in dialogue about the social and cultural impact of the Internet’s historical shift from a tool for military communication to an “information superhighway” promising open and equal exchange, and, finally, the increasingly asymmetric “content delivery system” we experience today. In this first collaboration, Arcangel and Lialina present complex bodies of work that arose through their continuing conversation. Curated by Caitlin Jones for Western Front, Vancouver; organized by Tim Griffin and Lumi Tan for The Kitchen.