"My Boyfriend Came Back From War" by Olia Lialina (1996)
<a href="http://www.teleportacia.org/war/" >My Boyfriend Came Back From War by Olia Lialina</a> is described as an interactive browser-based piece of internet artwork created in 1996 during the Net Art Era.
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The art piece talks about relationship issues between a couple including an affair, the idea of marriage and the difficulty of reconnecting between eachother after the man returns back from war. After all of the possible choices have been clicked by the viewer, the screen becomes solid black with empty windows signifying the feelings of emptiness or loneliness.
<img src="https://anthology.rhizome.org/user/pages/04.my-boyfriend-came-back-from-the-war/3-MBCBFTW_7217.jpg" width="800px" />
Lialina used a combination of animated gif images, hypertext and links to create a non-linear experience for the viewer. This artwork was specifically designed to only be viewed in an internet browser to create the illusion of a "thought process" by the human brain.
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Olia Lialina is a Russian Internet artist and theorist who specializes in experimental film.[[Home]]
Olia Lialina used this project to display how memories are organized and how thoughts and decisions are structured in the mind ([[Net Art Anthology - Rhizome, 2014 ->Sources]]). It's thought that, because of the time that this piece was created, the slow-speed Internet worked in her favor. The viewer could not race through each link instantly like they could with a high-speed Internet connection today, but had to take a few moments to read as well as absorb the information and image that was seen in order to move to the next part of the story. Perhaps the slow loading speed could have created suspense with the viewer - it may have aided in the lack of certainty with the romance between the couple. Lialina has explained that the slow-loading created silence and tension with the viewer and it was considered an "essential" part of the art work ([[Connor, 2014 ->Sources]]).
Olia Lialina was considered a main contributor to the net.art movement, or "Internet art" ([[Roehrs & Boetsch, 2019 ->Sources]]). Her style and choice of medium of using a website to explore her ideas rather than a linear storyline or film made her work seem out-of-the-box and categorized in the new media art era ([[Pereira, 2015 ->Sources]]).[[Home]]
Olia Lialina's intention with the way the viewer could choose their own path was to "mimic" the way that the human brain works when trying to solve a problem or simply how thoughts can be connected from one idea to another ([[Dustflower - YouTube, 2019 ->Sources]]). The non-linear narrative of "My Boyfriend Came Back From The War" as well as the grainy images were said to be strongly influenced by early silent films. The project also does not have any sound but only visuals.
"Create your own adventure" video games and interactive stories began to thrive in the late 90's, around the "My Boyfriend Came Back From The War" was released. Choose your own adventure books also began around the late 70's as well. These types of stories and artwork could have potentially influenced Lialina's choice for multiple different outcomes.
Connections to Other HOMI Projects: The Blair Witch Project
Olia Lialina's project connects to <a href="https://homi.neocities.org/2019/t/Blair_witch_1999.html" >The Blair Witch Project</a> in the sense that they are both products of the late 90's and are not traditional films. The Blair Witch Project is shot in a documentary style rather than a cinematic movie and Lialina's is an Internet browser interactive project. Both of these artworks could have been inspired by something real - Blair Witch searches for the mystery of the Blair Witch and Lialina's could have been potentially inspired by a personal relationship. In addition, they both have a reliance on networks in different ways- Blair Witch through storytelling and Lialina's through different network links.[[Home]]
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bm1zu_OXb1U" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Olia Lialina was part of the first main members of the net.art movement, or "Internet art." Net.art projects were intended to be viewed only on a web browser, meaning that it could not be hung on the wall of a museum like a traditional piece of art ([[Impact Festival - YouTube, 2015 ->Sources]]).
By 1988, "My Boyfriend Came Back From The War" had been "remixed" by several differnet new media artists. One of the more popular versions were Russian artist Martin Fernezelyi's video adaptation and the Flash and video project entitled "The Last Real Net Art Museum." Famous art critic Josephine Bosma claimed that Lialina's project was "one of the most influential net.art pieces of the mid-nineties."[[Home]]
<a href="http://www.teleportacia.org/war/" >Official "My Boyfriend Came Back From The War" Website</a>
Connor, Michael. “Speaking in Net Language: My Boyfriend Came Back from the War.” Rhizome, 10 Nov. 2016, http://rhizome.org/editorial/2016/nov/10/my-boyfriend-came-back-from-the-war/.
Dustflower. “INTERACTIVE WEBSITE FROM 1996 | My Boyfriend Came Back From The War EN.” YouTube, 21 July 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9kOgn3dMhI.
Festival, Impakt. Digital Folklore w/ Olia Lialina | IMPAKT Festival 2015. YouTube, YouTube, 4 Nov. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm1zu_ OXb1U.
“My Boyfriend Came Back From the War.” NET ART ANTHOLOGY: My Boyfriend Came Back From the War, anthology.rhizome.org/my-boyfriend-came-back-from-the-war.
“Olia Lialina.” ROEHRS & BOETSCH, 1 Jan. 2019, www.roehrsboetsch.com/artists/detail/olia-lialina/about/.
Pereira, Lorenzo. "Why is it So Difficult to Define New Media Art?" Widewalls, 2015. https://www.widewalls.ch/new-media-art-definition/