Olia Lialina (RU/GER)
My boyfriend came back from the war is one of the first engaging hyper text net art narrative in which the story unfolds by clicking on images and texts in various sized windows within the frame. The black and white interactive browser-based work chronicles the story of a couple reconvening after war. The multi-frame artwork follows a kind of disjointed conversation through a series of hyperlinked text and images that unravel a story line that alludes to love, longing and betrayal, drawing on the inevitable stress that comes when relationships are forced apart and tested. This charmingly simple yet poignant work, along with the overwhelming sense of nostalgia for the early days of the web one gets from visiting her online art gallery, made us wonder what making net art was like before numerous HTML advancements started wiping out older webpages and allowing for hyper-real web graphics.

Unlike fine wine or vintage couture, which generally grow better with age, the internet runs on a completely different wavelength where modernity and innovation are the major driving forces and measures of quality—meaning that only the most recent webpages have the best chance for survival. We chatted over email about how MBCBFTW has influenced today’s net art community, and how newer versions of HTML are affecting early net art pieces.

Olia Lialina was born in Moscow. Finished Moscow State University as journalist, film critic. One of the organizers of Moscow experimental film club CINE FANTOM. Net Artist, one of net.art pioneers. Writes on New Media, Digital Folklore and Vernacular.
Professor for Nmew Media and Interface design at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart.Animated Gif Model. Wife of Rockstar. Mother of three. Junior blogger.

My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, 1996
Install detail of My Boyfriend Came Back from the War
Photo Aaron Horsley