Web as a medium for art creation
By Reina Ueki
The World Wide Web is a new medium for artistic creation. Compared with traditional art, Web art is more dynamic because of the inclusion of text, images, sound, animation and video. Web art is an integration of numerous art works, connected with links, rather than an isolated single work of art. This interrelation among various pieces of art allows artists to create stories which the viewers can explore in any order they choose. Further, the Web makes it possible for viewers to interact personally and actively with the artistic creation. The web site Mouchette successfully demonstrates these characteristics of Web art.
The site's creator, whose nickname is Mouchette (http://www.mouchette.org),was named after a French movie made in 1967 by Robert Bresson. Her site depicts her concept of death and suicide (as in the film "Mouchette") and conveys this concept by using the full potential of the Web. First, Mouchette utilizes high level visual effects, combining and harmonizing photos, graphic arts, illustration, and animation very effectively. For example, the close-up photograph of the tongue in the link, "Blood and Flesh," makes a huge impact on the viewer, as though it might come out of the screen at any moment. Further, the complex graphics on the "Suicide kit" page, invites the viewers to look more carefully at its awkward combination of the angel, computer, U.S.A flag and Christmas, and to wonder the meaning of this image.
Mouchette's maze-like Web site gives viewers the chance to explore the site thoroughly, allowing them to understand what the artist is trying to say. For instance, the story is created in a non-linear fashion where the images are not revealed in any particular order. For instance, the numerous links on the home page of Mouchette leads to various paths and allows the viewers to determine their own order. In Mouchette the viewers have the freedom to choose what they want to see. Also, many links are hidden and must be found by moving the mouse across the screen. For example, the image links on the page "Secrets" are hidden in the mysterious dark background, between the texts and the moving ants. This type of self-exploration gives the audience a chance to actually step into the art work.
Moreover, Mouchette allows its viewers to interact actively with its site, both at the physical level, and at the internal and personal level. At the physical level, Mouchette includes various pages where the viewer can click on the mouse, or type in his or her opinions and comments. On the other hand, at the internal level, Mouchette encourages the audience to think about death and suicide. For example, in the "Fan-page," Mouchette not only leaves a space for the visitors to ask her questions, but also asks the viewers to share their own thoughts. For example, she asks, "What is the best way to kill yourself when you are under 13?" Mouchette also has a page where the opinions of other viewers can be read. By sharing her concept of death openly, Mouchette encourages viewers to interact emotionally with her, perhaps revealing their experience of suicide and death. The new Web medium allows viewers to actually get involved with the site, rather than simply observing it passively.
Work Cited: Mouchette at http://www.mouchette.org
Page Created: September 20, 2000 &
Page Updated: October27, 2000
This page was created for Grinnell College: Humanities 250: Arts, Multimedia, and the Internet. taught by Professor John Chenette and Mr. David Berk.