In 1996, this website appeared where the viewer is met by an extreme close up of a flower with flies and ants crawling on it. At the left is a picture of a sad young girl and next to her is written:
"My name is Mouchette
I live in Amsterdam
I am nearly 13 years old
I am an artist
Le site existe aussi en francais
My next mood is..."
There is an innocence to the way in which she expresses herself, but there is also an undeniably creepy and provocative quality to the website. On the homepage, if you click on "artist" it says,
"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?"
This is harmless enough, yet other parts of the website display images of raw meat and sexually suggestive pictures. The website is very complex, it does not seem to be the work of a thirteen year old girl. When looking through the profiles of all the different artists discussed in New Media Art, I was immediately caught by the initial image of the flower shown with Mouchette's profile. When I visited her site I was intrigued by the contrast of innocence, associated with the flower and her supposed youth, compared to the discussion of suicide Mouchette wants her visitors to enter into. The artist remains unknown and this causes a separation from the viewer, but there is also a close personal connection that exists while there is messaging back and forth between the two.
The artist who created Mouchette (or Mouchette herself), is similar to Marcel Duchamp not only because of his alter ego, Rrose Selavey, but because the artist changes paintings, giving them new meaning, much like Duchamp's readymades. However, the manipulation is digital instead of physical. It has been said that the Mouchette website is based on Robert Bresson's 1967 film "Mouchette." There are undeniable similarities between the two, but no matter whether or not that is intentional, the site exposes the unsettling ideas of child sexuality and identity manipulation online.