We=Link: Sideways

We=Link: Sideways is an online exhibition by Chronus Art Center, (CAC), that is co-presented with V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media and ten other cultural organisations. It features twenty-two works by twenty-eight artists and artist collectives, spanning three decades of net art practice.

Nov 2020
May 2021
location: Online: we-link.chronusartcenter.org & Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, BLDG. 18, No. 50 Moganshan RD., Shanghai
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Online Opening 21 November 2020 @


We=Link: Sideways features twenty-two works by twenty-eight artists and artist collectives, from the pioneers of net art to current practicioners. The works on display and online span three decades of net art practice, from arguably the first internet-era artwork of the Thing BBS in 1991 to the most current productions that continue to evolve after the exhibition opens.

We=Link: Sideways is a Chronus Art Center (CAC) exhibition. It is the second edition of the We=Link program, a platform for presenting online art, conceived by Chronus Art Center in late February of 2020 as a response to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Online co-presentation with CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Haus der Elektronischen Künste (Basel), V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam), Ars at CERN (Geneva), Elektra (Montreal), Leonardo/ISAST, Nam June Paik Art Center (Seoul), Copenhagen Contemporary (Copenhagen), Light Art Space (Berlin) and in collaboration with artport of The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York)

We=Link: Sideways presents works by Mike Bennett, Wafaa Bilal, CHEN Pengpeng, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Matthieu Cherubini, Paolo Cirio, Leon Eckert, Ursula Endlicher, exonemo, Hervé Graumann, GUO Cheng, Vytas Jankauskas, Knowbotic Research, LAN, LIANG Yuhong, LIU Xing, Jonas Lund, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Kyle McDonald, Haroon Mirza, Everest Pipkin, Cornelia Sollfrank, Wolfgang Staehle, Ubermorgen, Maciej Wisniewski, XU Haomin, ZHAO Hua and ZHOU Peng’an. The exhibition is curated by ZHANG Ga.

The exhibition includes Jonas Lund's The Internet Click which he developed for, and presented at V2_ as part of the event series 3x3.


Often net art is referred to as the last avant-garde of the twentieth century. It emerged in the 1990s, which saw an unrestrained flourishing of online experiments on the internet, dealing with the cultural and social aspects of networked communication and critical engagement with the nascent new economy. Already by 1997 the institutional acknowledgment of this peripheral and fringe art practice, along with the commodification of the internet, made net art seem, according to art historian Dieter Daniels, to have 'reached a dead end or turning point.'

The exhibition We=Link: Sideway takes the purported net art’s 'dead end' as a starting point to chart a discursive trajectory of the many network-based art practices that have emerged since then. The exhibition attempts to uncover various developments of network-based art practices, diverse strategies, critical positions and aesthetic experiments after the crash of the dot.com bubble, when neoliberalism and cognitive capitalism prevailed and populism and nationalism were on the rise.

The exhibition also comprises several early works, from before 1997. Like the first artist-run Bulletin Board System that preceded popularity of social networks, as well as various artistic strategies and critical technologies that aimed to disrupt the corporate monopoly of network infrastructures and protocols. These works tried to expose the intrinsic logics of network security and surveillance in provocative stances as well as playful innuendos, for instance through criticizing or re-appropriating commercial and institutional methods. Net art continued to experiment with new possibilities and challenges of rapidly changing technologies, and developed different aesthetic propositions along with it.
In 1999 ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe organized the exhibition net_condition. Now 'the net condition' is our perpetual condition, a posthuman condition where the network is needed for circulation and respiration. In a world that is stricken by pandemic virulence and Trumpian misinformation, bankrupted by corporate rapacity; a world of tumults and crises, accelerated by artificial intelligence in the feedforward anticipation of the Kurzweilian transhuman singularity; a world of hardened passion and redemption in every way reminiscent of the fertile ground in which the avant-garde germinated and thrived, net art, the last Avant-garde of the twentieth century, may once again at this turning point take up that Quixotic spirit of intrepidity and strive on, once again from the periphery and the fringe – with a little mischief, a pinch of agitation, via action, through the beautiful, and by sideways, to remake history.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an extended essay to further contextualize the works and their implicit resonances with the historic tradition of net art and the avant-garde at large.

A series of exhibition-related programs and performances will be organized during the six-month exhibition period. Such as the performance Later Date by Lauren Lee McCarthy, which will be performed live through V2_’s website.

Organized by:

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Online co-presentation with:

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In collaboration with artport / The Whitney Museum of American Art



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