John. Fort

Insight of an art student
“Find what you love, and let it kill you.”

Studying Mouchette.org

Personal identity is the concept you develop about yourself that evolves over the course of your life. This may include aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as where you grew up or the color of your skin, as well as choices you make in life, such as how you spend your time and what you believe.

“Identity may be distinguished from identification; identity is a label, whereas identification refers to the classifying act itself. Identity is thus best construed as being both relational and contextual, while the act of identification is best viewed as inherently processual. That process can be creative or destructive.”- (Wikipedia)
Today’s lecture is full of bewildering information on web-based new media artworks that carry certain social and moral commentary. There are two websites in particular <http://www.mouchette.org> and <http://brandon.guggenheim.org>, of which we are allowed to pick the one we are most interested in to write about. I picked the Mouchette.org which leads you to a page of an alleged thirteen years old artist who welcomes the visitors with a shocking tagline.
“WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO KILL YOURSELF WHEN YOU’RE UNDER 13?”- (Mouchette.org)
Mouchette.org poses as the personal website of a thirteen year old girl. The website appears to arouse the curiosities of pedophiles (who were the subjects of a rising moral panic in the 90s). As the user navigates through the website by selecting radio buttons that ask them to make assumptions about the attention-seeking character of its author, closeups of feminine body parts (an ear, tied hair, a face with lips parted) appear, enlarged, across the background of each linked web page.
 The simple and “deceptively innocent” introduction, which appears next to a portrait of a “sad eyed” adolescent girl on the main page with a floral background, is in stark contrast to the complexity of the rest of the site. The webpage “consists of various links, electronic interactive texts and poems that reveal the multiple faces of the artist, along with her fears and obsessions”. On one page, Mouchette refers to herself as the fly and blames the web visitor for killing her when they pressed a button on the previous webpage, accompanying that is a sobbing of a young girl in the background. In other page, there is an image of a cat vigorously shaking its head with a button that says “KILL THAT CAT”, upon pressing the button the visitor will be asked why the killed the cat.

Artist Martine Neddam created a personal home page for a fictional character called “Mouchette” loosely based on a 1937 book by Georges Bernanos. Neddam has been impersonating a lonely 12 year old girl on the internet for two decades. Mouchette maintains site interaction with users by keeping in contact through email and the website, as well as maintaining a database of user contributions and reactions. Visitors are given the opportunity to “become Mouchette”, when they become a member of the “mouchette Network”. Members can “create true Mouchette webpages” and are given “a unique opportunity to become a great artist.”

Acknowledgement

This research is a collective of personal knowledge alongside information I found on the internet, thus I have no ownership of the images and portion of texts. I am only using them under fair use for education purpose.

References

http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-personal-identity-definition-philosophy-development.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_(social_science)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouchette.org

http://www.mouchette.org/

Posted 31st October 2016 by John. Fort



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