I am a 13 yr old French girl…. apparently

Blog of Dane: WK5 – I am a 13 yr old French girl…. apparently
Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Looking into what net art is, where it came from, who does it, all that great stuff, I inevitably came across wikipedia.org. Reading through presented a bunch of history and examples, but one caught my attention – http://www.mouchette.org/.
This link was simply described as ‘web art project by 13 year-old French girl’, and as gullible as I am I believed them (but I also believed Blair Witch was real… for a little while). Here was basically this crazy (not necessarily well done) site that was seemingly created by this young girl. The more I explored, the more darker the content seemed to become.
Finally I hit this online form (http://www.mouchette.org/suicide/answers.php3?id=13783) that can be updated by anyone visiting it. This form, titled ‘What is the best way to commit suicide when you’re under 13?’, addressed suicide – experiences people have had with it, ways to accomplish it, and people’s general opinions on it. Responses varied greatly (as the site comments on, dividing the comments into catagories), including people seeking help, people offering help, people joking on it, people offering solutions to the question, and some with aggressive responses directed towards the site’s author.
Of course, the site has not been created by the author who claims to be a 13 year old French girl, but instead some unidentified person who has taken the identity of a movie character who was involved in abuse, rape, and eventual suicide.

In relation to the essay, this site offered many points of argument about net art. The most obvious one is content regulation of net art.
Art that is displayed in a gallery for example is generally directed to older audiences that are in a more mature state of mind, and that can understand and appreciate an artwork’s content on suicide at an artistic level. The work that is displayed in a gallery is also regulated, so any works that may address something such as suicide at a tasteless level will not be seen by the public. Here, as net art, the content of suicide is open to all people – any audience of any age of any state of mind (not to say that the site is tasteless though). The biggest issue with this site is younger audiences finding this page and taking the content seriously. People responding in the form go so far as to describe events of suicide that they have been related to and affected by, which could greatly affect younger children and also their outlook on life and the subject of suicide.
In short, the argument here is basically the regulation of net art, and what possible effect it could be having on its wide audience.

The other argument that can be seen in ‘Mouchette’ could be identity. Taking the form of a young girl can have a great impact on the way people perceive the content. I myself as a previously mentioned gullible viewer was quite disturbed for a while searching through this content of death and suicide. A part of the web site, however, indicated that the site had been asked to close down due to copyright reasons (http://www.mouchette.org/film/quiz.html). Here the character ‘Mouchette’ is revealed as a movie character, and hence a false identity.
What makes this interesting is that for someone to act on behalf of an adolescant and create such content I believe greatly changes the outlook of the site and what it has to say about the topics covered. If it were say a 40 year old American male, the site’s audience would accept the content at a more mature level, or possibly not even take it seriously at all. The simple claim that it is created by a young girl makes the content more accessible to younger audiences as I believe they would possibly feel a relation to it.

Well those are the two main points anyway. Seeing as they kind of relate to each other, I’m considering covering both together, bounce the points between the arguments. Like a beach ball.

Now, FLASH! Dammit I wanna be playing with it more, but sadly I’m deep in other work, but it seems there is a break ahead for me to get right into it. In the mean time, ideas continue to flood my brain. This animation of mine seems to continually evolve each day, but with this inability to play with Flash I have been concerned about actually achieving it. If it proves to be too difficult, i have some ideas on how to manipulate it into html.
Anyways, I’ve gone back to the animation idea. I think if I am going well with the project then I may consider manipulating it into something that is interactive…. but that comes later.
I can’t fully recall where my idea was last week, but now it’s focussed on this old man. I have a vision of this old man, sitting at a retirement home looking one breath away from death, and staring in a sleepy thought. The concept of the animation is to read his brain as he contemplates relationships, experiences, and thoughts he has had throughout his life.
I still want to stay with the house idea, and delve deeper into the basement and beyond, getting deeper into his more darker thoughts and memories as we travel down. The man in this respect comes to terms with what he has done wrong and why is somewhat evil, even if he has the facade of just a normal, gentle person. Eventually he finds death amongst the darkest of his recollections, and we come back to the man slumped in his chair.

Ok, well I think that’s more than enough thoughts for one day. Enough death for one day too.


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