In 1996 Russian artist Olia Lialina created My Boyfriend Came Back From The War (MBCBFTW). Using the story of a veterans girlfriend who has mixed feelings when he returns, the interactive web narrative quickly became an iconic work that inspired many artists to create their own interpretations of it.
My Resident’s War uses Lialina’s archive as a starting point to create a net space focused on the interior mental state of a resident physician on a Q3 30-hour overnight shift. There is an overload of information in the nightmare space, similar to the physical and mental burden placed on a resident's psychological well-being. The archive is collected from the images, texts, videos, audio and personal testimony of residents while on call. A cast of .gifs function as a coding system, the strobing effect mirrors the tension between the page of a doctor's beeper and the action of emergency patient care. The site uses a horror aesthetic referential to Hollywood cinematic modes that create flat portrayals of hospital realities. There is no containment in the dream state, no containment in the net space, no containment in the interior space of a resident’s mental maze. The containment is found in the shadows–a smiling resident trapped in the walls of a hospital that asks them to hide information to promote a healthy outward facing appearance.
Visit My Resident’s Nightmare here.