Serg Riva, Class Espionage

Serg Riva:  Couture Swimwear Designer By Day,   Class Espionage Agent After Dark

“Riva is part of a long history of artists who  invent fake personae in order to pursue this or that artistic goal,often as a way of talking about the construction of self and the impact of class. The fake persona is a favorite trope among new media artists, and in particular net artists, because the Internet increases the scale of the masquerade – it’s potential longevity and exposure – beyond any precedent from the worlds of the gallery or performance art. Well-known examples of early Internet art masquerades from the mid 1990’s include Luthor Blisset and Mouchette (

Mouchette was a fictional 13-year old Dutch girl who maintained a personal website. One page on her site included a picture of her face smashed up against a glass surface, as if she were just on the other side of the computer’s own glass screen. Here she invited viewers to press their face up against hers and taste her tongue, tossing up issues of voyeurism, pedophilia, anonymity, and privacy that continue to characterize the discourse around the Internet. These earlier works established their fake identities quickly – for instance, pithy text on Mouchette’s homepage announced, “I am Mouchette. I am 13. I live in Amsterdam.” – after which these works could get on having some direct effect in the world. Serg Riva differs from and extends these projects in that he carefully constructs his identity over a long time, in fact that is the point of the work; affect is effect.”

by Richard Rinehart in papers

Archived pdf file of this paper: serg_riva-rinehart

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