Katherine Rosenthal

Usership on Mouchette.org: Creating Digital Spaces of Girl Empowerment

Katherine Rosenthal December 4, 2013

In 1996 the domain ‘mouchette.org’ was claimed and a self-declared artist anonymously began to write a website for the fictional thirteen-year-old of Bresson’s film, Mouchette. The page was at first received by the early net’s small public as the blog of a precocious, but troubled child. The site has been expanded to deal with themes of suicide, consumerism and the bodies of young girls.
Mouchette.org, created before the establishment of Web 2.0 and the widespread commodification of Internet experience, was unique in that it thrived off interaction from spectators. A few years after the first site’s creation, an anonymous individual registered mouchette.net and invited users to abuse their identity by becoming Mouchette. On the .net site anyone could make pages as Mouchette, respond to emails as Mouchette or issue public statements as Mouchette. Although the websites may have initially been individually authored they have been so shaped by a collective that it is impossible to call them the work of one artist.
Mouchette.org has grown with the Internet and fostered a community of artists, suicidal teenagers and curious surfers. Users of mouchette.org and its sister sites create a vast web of changing paths that constantly alter experience. It would be impossible to address all paths or pages in this paper as each page may contain twenty or more links, loops and changing content archives. I have limited the focus of this paper to a few paths, which I found particularly helpful for discussing Mouchette’s usership.


You can downoad the pdf here: rosenka.pdf

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