Source Code: Best Of

Best Of – Mouchette  via Source Code by Luis Silva 23/7/2005

One of my first experiences with netart was back in 1999, while I was studying in France. I remember reading a small article in a contemporary art magazine (I’m pretty sure I still have it somewhere) about Mouchette.

Mouchette, a website, netart piece, artist’s alter ego, intrigued me from the first time I saw it. It can be thought of a non-linear narrative, a hipertext art project. So far no reason for feeling intrigued… but as I went through its pages, getting to know the character, doing what she told me to do, I felt chills down my spine.

We are browsing through a 13 years old little girl’s art project. She asks us our name. She asks us the better way to kill herself. She asks us to feel her tongue in our cheek. She asks us to kill a cat and why we did it. She keeps asking us disturbing things, things involving sex and death.

Mouchette is based on Robert Bresson’s 1967 movie, called “Mouchette”. Mouchette, a 14-year old girl situated in a small rural community, lives a dreadful life. Her mother is dying and her father is an alcoholic, leaving her to provide most of the care for her baby sister. Her social status at school is so low that she isn’t bullied by her classmates, but simply disregarded. One night while returning from school, she encounters the poacher Arsene in the woods. Arsene is agitated because he believes he has just killed the town policeman, and takes Mouchette back to his cabin. He rapes her and uses her as an alibi for his whereabouts for the night.

This contemporary Mouchette is 13 and lives in Amsterdam. She acts very much in a Lolita fashion, provoking us, mixing sex and death, she insists in seducing us and at the same time killing herself and taking us as part of the process.

Mouchette has taken part in numerous art manifestations, exhibitions and events in the artworld, and created a new part of her website each time. Mouchette has held a very important presence within the netart community and has lectured and appeared (anonymously) extensively in online and offline events and publications. The artist responsible for the project at a certain point announced (s)he was giving it to someone who had interest in continuing it and eventually passed it to the chosen one in a ceremony at Postmasters Gallery in New York.

1996 – present


Christy said…

I just so happen to have looked at Mouchette again yesterday. I was prompted by a paper that came out in Leonardo in June this year: Rape, Murder and Suicide are Easier When You Use a Keyboard Shortcut: Mouchette, an On-Line Virtual Character. It is a lengthly interview with the artist, but you have to connect to the Journal through a server with a subscription (libraries).

When I thought the site was by a child I found it fascinating, but as soon as I discovered the hoax/art status of it I found it quite unsettling.

[offtopic]congrats on your site[/offtopic]

laura said…

Magnífica iniciativa Luis,
a partir de agosto te enlazo en el tranmisor y después en (ahora en obras).
ten un poco de paciencia y verás como se convierte en un espacio muy visitado


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