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to Be Or Not To Be Mouchette
By Martine Neddam
Me, Mouchette, the online virtual character, I have an unusual status of existence. Regarding the art of my website www.mouchette.org I am the author and the creation at the same time, and yet through my remote internet life I remain invisible, anonymous, genderless, untouchable, neither alive or dead. Therefore participants of my interactive website confide in me in the most intimate way, as if were an imaginary being, living in their own head. Inside their own thoughts, no subject is taboo, fear, pain, life and death or even the temptation of suicide, and with me people feel free to talk about everything. With the reactions of the participants to my website I have composed animation films displaying many of the texts I received, spoken out by pixellated characters who tell their most private thoughts about their experience of surviving suicide, their own or someone else’s. My personality embraces all of my participant’s minds and together we form a collective consciousness pondering over questions of life and death in the digital era. And like in the famous Hamlet monologue, to be or not to be Mouchette, that is the question! The work has been exhibited first within the manifestation Knotenpuntke in Germany and was shown on screens in the museum of Siegen Germany in 2007.
The mystery around Martine Neddam’s “Mouchette” has existed for quite some time. Who is Mouchette? Is Mouchette a real person? Loosely based on a character from the 1967 Bresson film titled Mouchette, Neddam has transformed the character into an avatar and alter-ego to address the serious issue of teen suicide. The overall Mouchette project has been online since 1997 and with “To be or not to be Mouchette” we are presented with a sort of flash-based performance of various postings on the issue of suicide that simulates liveness through the use of movable avatars and pop-up verbiage.