Media13–Computer_World

The Brave New World of the Computer

Chapter 13. Computer

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Pages 35-36

Mouchette was originally a character in a 1967 film by Robert Bresson. A still anonymous artist (s/he only works under the name Mouchette) appropriated Mouchette’s teen angst persona to create Mouchette Identity Shaping Interface (mouchette.org, 13.25) online in 1996. On the Internet, Mouchette is presented as Dutch (rather than her original French identity), perpetually thirteen years old, an artist, and extremely moody. Viewer participants can enter the site, see photographs of Mouchette, read what she writes, dialogue with her, and look at her ravishingly beautiful—and highly sexualized- photographs of flowers. At one point, she tells viewers, “I think about killing myself, everyday, no joke. No, it’s not the best thought in the world, but it races through my mind every day.” This text is positioned over a luscious photography of a hot pink lily.

Viewer participants can suplement the suicide text, view more Mouchette images, or add their own images to the site. Mouchette’s “birthday party” on December 14, 2001 was a net.art group show. She told viewers,” It’s my last birthday party before I commit suicide. Every time the last one again.” As Greene observes, “Forever frozen as a sad-eyed thirteen-year-old, Mouchette’s kitschy persona veers into the sensational, as suicide and child pornography are outlined with unsettling sound clips, innuendo and disturbing images. In this project, the field in which an image is mechanically reproduced is a psychologically fraught, unsettling one.”

 



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