Minhae Shim

Minhae Shim | Art Blog: Mouchette

I’m interested in exploring the possibilities that the internet has built for interactive and accessible art – essentially, seeing the concept of the “global village” applied to art, rather than commercialism or information. Here is an example:

Mouchette.org is an art website that is an example of how identity can be constructed in the realm of the online. It was created in 1996 by a 13 year-old character who calls herself “Mouchette,” which is French for “little fly.” The character is based on the protagonist of the dark and tragic 1967 French film of the same name, directed by Robert Bresson. The website has been the subject of controversy, especially because its association to the Bresson film, and because of the taboo subjects that it addresses. The identity of the “true artist” has never been revealed.
While the website seems to be the innocent expressions of a 13 year-old girl, it is an entirely fictitious and sophisticated construct. The website is purposefully difficult to navigate and rejects the concept of the “easy and pleasant viewer experience.” The website calls attention to itself as a website. This could also be due to the fact that it was initially created in 1996, when web interfaces were less sophisticated than they are today. However, the fact that the artist decided to keep the website in its original form and not “upgrade” is a statement in and of itself.
The website visitor will be surprised by the animations and sound bytes (such as crying and wailing) that sometimes seem to appear out of nowhere. The viewer will also discover that the website has darker and more mature themes that can be unearthed as  she goes deeper into the website. Ideas such as suicide, death and violation, which are explicitly addressed in the Bresson film, reveal themselves in the website.
Mouchette.org is a fascinating project. It makes viewers think about ideas of authenticity, veracity and identity in internet art. It complex and effortful, and most of all, universally accessible.

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