Olia Lialina

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Olia Lialina
Olia Lialina as Animated GIF model
Born Moscow
Nationality Russian
Education Moscow State University
Known for internet art, net art, Theory
Notable work Zombie and Mummy, My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, The Turing Complete User, The Geocities Institute (One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age), News Papers Online, The Most Beautiful Webpage, The First Net Gallery, Agatha Appears

Olia Lialina (born in Moscow) is a pioneer Internet artist and theorist as well as an experimental film and video critic and curator. Lialina studied film criticism and journalism at Moscow State University, then followed with art residencies at C3 (Budapest,) and Villa Walderta (Munich,).[1]

She founded Art Teleportacia, a web gallery of her work, which also features links to remakes of her most famous work "My boyfriend came back from the war", [2] She was also one of the organizers and later, director of Cine Fantom, an experimental cinema club in Moscow that she co-founded in 1995 by Lialina with Gleb Aleinikov, Andrej Silvestrov, Boris Ukhananov, Inna Kolosova and others. "My boyfriend came back from the war" is a site where there are many frames consisting of sentences and pictures. The user has a choice of clicking what frame they want. This relates to the Borgesian view because the user is allowed to choose their own path. In the sense that the frames are trying to formulate a sentence, but it doesn't really come out that way, this relates to Vannevar Bush's views. There hypertext creates different phrases in different frames, and the reader has to make sense of it on their own. The forking paths in the site is either to click on a link or a picture; both of them take you to different perspectives.

Lialina taught at New Media Lab (Moscow, 1994); Joint Art Studios (Moscow, 1995); University of Westminster (London, 1997); MUU (Helsinki, 1997); Kunst Academiet (Trondheim, 1998); Fachhochschule (Augsburg, 1998); University of Graz (1998) and Akademie der Bildenden Künste München(Munich, 1998–99);.[3] Since 1999 (until today, 2012) Lialina is teaching the New Media pathway at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart.[4] Some of her artwork is maintained in the computerfinearts collection at the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University.[5]

In 2012 Lialina coined the term Turing Complete User in an essay of the same name.[6] The piece was well received internationally and got reviews by Bruce Sterling [7] and Cory Doctorow [8] among others.


  • Olia Lialina created the netart work My Boyfriend Came Back From The War. In this particular piece Olia Lialina tells a story with gif about a couple and what occurred when the male came back from a war. The female talks about cheating, and there is some talk about marriage. The whole piece is in black and white and the story progresses as one clicks on the different words. This piece has been remixed and redone in different ways, you can find the links to these new pieces here
  • The first real net art gallery is a web page that features what appears to be a creator in the lower right hand side of the page and eleven bars at the top left hand side, the website pictures evergreen trees throughout. The link on this page is over the creator, when clicked on the page moves towards the top left, finally stopping and revealing links.
  • The most beautiful web page is a web page which appears to be as the link states "some universe". The link to the page is in the words which appear in the middle of the page and read "SOME UNIVERSE for heike, dragan and your browser"[9] when clicked on, a new web page appears in which one must scroll using the page down on your keyboard. While doing this the various spots of color on the black background appear to twinkle and move. Throughout the scrolling there are different images that appear, at times there are stripes of color which look as if they are moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the site. Finally at the bottom of the page five images can be seen, including a horizontal stripe of sparkling purple lights.
  • News paper online is a web page that features newspaper with different Gif throughout the newspapers. There are five different newspapers from different parts of the world in order from left to right.
The first newspaper is of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung a German news paper from August 2, 2004. Olia has added a GIF of roses.
The second newspaper is of Daily Jang. The date of this paper is August 6, 2004 the animations added to it are colored spheres.
The third newspaper is of USA TODAY, this page includes GIF of American flags and of The Statue of Liberty. The date for this newspaper is August 9, 2004 and when scrolled over the part entitled "Election Officials Act to Stop Snags" the same newspaper is revealed without the GIF and in black and white.
The fourth newspaper is of The Wall Street Journal Europe this page contains a GIF of animals. The date on the newspaper is August 4, 2004.
The fifth newspaper is of Dajiyuan. In this newspaper there are GIFs of Street Fighter. The date on the newspaper is August 4, 2004.
  • From 2001 to 2003, Olia managed a web comic named Zombie and Mummy with Dragan Espenschied. The comic contained the characters Zombie, a zombie, and Mummy, a mummy. Each comic was created on a Palm Pilot, and was designed to be mediocre on purpose. Comics consisted of usually 4 panes each, beginning with "Zombie and Mummy..." followed by the comic title. The story would then progress, until a simple (usually) conclusion would be reached, and "The End" would be displayed in bubble letters dripping with blood. Each comic was embedded into a webpage, some Olia's own creation, some taken from other sources. The webpages were usually styled after typical GeoCities-like websites at the time.[10][11]
  • Agatha Appears is a website created in 1997. A story told through the title elements of hyperlinks, Man.gif meets woman.jpeg and introduces her to the Internet where she is teleported into and never is alone again.[12]


  1. ^ "art residency". teleportacia.org. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  2. ^ ""Pages in the Middle of Nowhere" (formerly, "First and the Only Real Net Art Gallery")". teleportacia.org. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Teaching". tvgallery.ru. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  4. ^ "New Media Pathway". merz-akademie.de. 
  5. ^ "Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art". Cornell University Library. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Turing Complete User". contemporary-home-computing.org. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  7. ^ "Olia Lialina's Turing-Complete User". wired.com. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  8. ^ "Universal Computer Users". boingboing.com. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  9. ^ The most beautiful web page
  10. ^ Zombie and Mummy: About Retrieved 2015-08-10
  11. ^ TV Troopes: Web Comics: Zombie and Mummy by Olia Lialina Retrieved 2015-08-10
  12. ^ A G A T H A A P P E A R S by Olia Lialina (Restored 2008) Retrieved 2015-08-10

Further reading[edit]

  • Rosenthal, S., & Dinkla, S. (2002). Stories: Erzählstrukturen in der zeitgenössischen Kunst : Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Lars Arrhenius, Birgit Brenner, Susanne Berkenheger, Sophie Calle, Tracey Emin, Anna Gaskell, Renee Green, Josph Grigely, Rachel Harrison, Benjamin Heisenberg, Anton Henning, Lynn Hershman, William Kentridge, Olia Lialina, Julia Loktev, Florian Merkel, M+M Aernout Mik, Abigail O'Brien, Franck Scurti, Andreas Siekmann, Sam Taylor-Wood, Janaina Tschäpe, Susanne Weirich. Köln: DuMont. ISBN 3-8321-7191-6
  • Tribe, Mark; Reena, Jana (2007). New Media Art. Taschen GmbH. p. 60. ISBN 978-3-8228-3041-3.  (Brown University open source)
  • Baumgärtel, Tilman (1999). net.art - Materialien zur Netzkunst (in German) (2nd ed.). Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst Nürnberg. pp. 128–135. ISBN 3-933096-17-0. 

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