Mouchette is a web platform named after a fictional adolescent girl invented by artist Martine Neddam. Mouchette makes use of expressive HTML elements to involve the viewer her turbulent, emotional world; visitors are encouraged to talk about suicide, contribute fan art, and even adopt her identity. Mouchette now stands as a singular and important archive of online culture—humorous, dark, and often surprisingly touching.
"Art history is replete with examples of artistic alter egos, from Marcel Duchamp's Rrose Selavy to Luther Blissett, a British soccer star whose name was assumed in the mid-1990s by numerous Net artists and activists when posting to email lists and online discussion forums. In 1996, a Web site that purports to be the work of an adolescent girl appeared at http://mouchette.org. Visitors to the site are greeted with a lurid close-up of a flower, its petals crawling with ants and flies, accompanied by a portrait of a sad-looking girl and the following text: 'My name is Mouchette/I live in Amsterdam/I am nearly 13 years old/I am an artist.' Some of the site's content has a deceptively innocent quality. For example, clicking on the word 'artist' on the home page leads to a page with the following text: 'An artist? Yes. Here is a tip: I heard that the only way to become an artist is to say you are one. And then you can call 'art' everything you make… Easy, he?' Other sections are more grotesque (images of raw meat) or sexually suggestive (a tongue licking the screen). Many pages feature interactive Web forms, including multiple-choice questions that trigger delayed reaction emails – days or weeks later, visitors receive unexpected, often flirtatious emails from Mouchette. There is also a listing of members of Mouchette's international fan club, which includes art institutions around the world." (Tribe/Reena)
-------- Original Message --------
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 19:05:10 +0100
Reply-To: [email protected]
To: "Mouchette's fan club"
I've just made some rather special portraits of myself and of my family which I would like you to see. I always said I would never show any other picture of myself than the small one on my homepage, because I was too shy, or because my parents wouldn't allow me. But now, with these series of self-portraits, I'm showing myself so close to you that you might even get embarrassed...
But whatever your reactions are, I shall be pleased to hear them so I left you on each page all the space you would need to write back.