søndag den 24. maj 2009

on Erica Ascot, simulacra, identity and Harmony Korine

who was Erika Ascot?

ok, so for those of you living outside of sweden, I am not sure how well-known this phenomenon is

and I am not sure I want to reveal it all at once either
so I will go step by step

(for me)
it started with someone adding me on facebook
we had no friends in common,
I checked out his page and saw that he was from umeå

I added him.

I then realized I didnt add him as a limited profile
and that this man was a complete stranger to me
a welldressed stranger but nonetheless

yesterday he had put some images up
I got curious and looked through his albums

the album from last week had some rather morbid pictures
the album started with an invitation to the spreading of erica ascots ashes.
it also said: wear black
then the following pictures were of fashionpeople wearing black with white lillies in their hands walking

I thought to myself ok, interesting (more like goddamn, how strange) to put this on facebook. I guess a funeral also has become an event to share with the world in pictures but it is a tiny bit unusual and strange.
the most peculiar I found were all the fun they seemed to be having afterwards.

I googled her name and came over her blog
the blog of Erica Ascot.
an 18-year old stocholmer
who killed herself

but the text was a bit weird,
and how did her parents or her friends get her login so they could send a last message through her blog?

I started to read through the blog. backwards.

it seemed to be a very depressed girl with an amazing eloquence who had written it
it described her life in stocholm among all of her dresses and shallow life and with a caretaker/aunt whom she deeply despises.

what led me to continue on reading was her choice of words and her strange and romantic obsession with death.

one post was a bit stranger than all the others
and it was the one saying:
Jag ska intervjuas för TV. En underlig känsla. Egentligen vill jag inte. Inte för att jag är nervös, men
för att jag är trött. Jag är trött som om jag levt i tusen år. Vet PRECIS vad de vill. Lyfta upp mig i studioljuset.
Hålla mig mellan tummen och pekfingret som tre dagar gamla sopor.
Plommonvin och skärsår! Är det vad ungdomen behöver för att känna att de lever?
Javisst säger jag, och ler dekadent. En mörklila droppe i mungipan. Det är nya tider nu!
Fast det inte alls är nya tider, utan samma gamla tider som fick Isabella att att dricka växtgift eller
Yasunari att gasa sig. (eller älskade)

and this one
Blek sol nu. Himlen vit som papper, svarta fågelsiluetter. Jag förstår.
Ville bara inte erkänna det, men det är inte jag som skapat det här. JAG är bara himlen där fågelvingarna ritar sina bokstäver. "Jag" är bara pappret där ni skriver.

Tack alla ni som länkat till min sida. Alla ni som blivit mina vänner på Facebook Till och med nu när himlen är nästan svart och alla (utom jag) tycks veta att jag bara är
ett påhitt. Till och med nu kommer ni hit.
Fler och fler tills himlen är nästan mörk av fågelvingar och texten inte längre går att läsa.

that was when I realized that I had seen something on tv some weeks ago.
about a very popular blog that had been revealed as a scam.
that there were two people behind it
who pretended to be a young girl
and I suddenly realized I had fallen for the trap
that I had believed the whole thing
even weeks after everyone else knew it was all madeup

I started reading the comments on "her" blog and discovered that people were mourning the loss of Erica Ascot

even though they knew she wasnt real they didnt care.
they had felt an understanding through her words,
and they were deeply, deeply sorry.

Having read Jean Baudrillards theories on hyperrealism and simulacra that exists in these postmodern times the last few days, I suddenly realized that it is true. The hyperreal is referring to a collapse between the real and simulation. It can no longer be distinguished between, and reality and simulation are therefore existing side by side, and experienced without difference.
John Storey (2006) states, it is not that people cant distinguish between fiction and reality. It is the fact that in some significant ways the distinction has become less and less important..

we dont care whether it is real or not.

I dont care that Erika Ascot was made up.
I loved her phrasing and I wanted to read more
and I mourn over her suicide.
I am sad that I didnt discover her blog before.
I might have felt different about it then
if I had read it for months and months and then suddenly was told it was a pr-stund and she didnt exist.
perhaps it would have felt like a slap in the face.
but I dont think so.
there are two real people behind it with a very high degree of understanding
of a young girls mental problems within a world of pretend
..and with an incredible taste in words put together.

I found this video from the "funeral" and I like the words this very welldressed lady is reading out loud.

Remembering Erika Ascot from pivic on Vimeo.

(my friend on fb is the one spreading her ashes, and the girl next to him is a contact on flickr. I have never met any one of them)

on another but very similar note,
it also somehow fits close to the assignment I am writing about Harmony Korine and his Mister Lonely for school.
Harmony tells a lot of stories about what he has experienced in the years he was not making movies. Among others, he tells a story where he lived with a sect in Peru that worshipped a very special fish. A piano fish. It had been caught like twice in the last century. The fish would sound like a piano when you pressed his fins.They spent whole days looking for it. It could be true. I dont know. Perhaps he was in rehab, and this was the imaginary world he was inside at the time.

When people doubt mr. Korines stories, he replies: "So what? Everything is just stories anyway. It doesn't matter to me if you believe them or not". And in some ways this could be true. Our identity is a narrative identity. It is made up by the stories we tell about ourselves. And even though Erica Ascot was all made up, what difference does that make, really? I still liked her, and I will miss her now that she is gone.

3 kommentarer:

Elina Minn sagde ...

highly interesting. thank you thank you thank you!

jannicke sagde ...

I am really glad you liked it. :)

and, your blogs are amazing, elina! consider me a new regular reader.

Elina Minn sagde ...

booom! that's so nice to hear jannicke. i found you through a friend who recommended your music to me and instantly linked with what you are doing. now all this thought about narrative identity thing! i'm really into narrative theory / identity myself so i enjoy reading your musings on the subject and would love to hear more!