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WEBCAM VENUS

Addie Wagenknecht & Pablo Garcia

2013

Video (color, sound)

Dimensions variable

2 min, 41 sec

Courtesy bitforms gallery, NY

In Webcam Venus, the artists asked online sexcam performers to replicate iconic works of art. This piece is an experimental homage to both fine art and the lowbrow internet phenomenon of cams.
Sexcams use webcams and chat interfaces to connect amateur adult performers with an audience. Users log on to see men, women, transsexuals, couples and groups broadcast their bodies and sexuality live for the public, often performing for money.
To create this experiment in high and low brow media, the artists assumed anonymous handles and spent a few hours each day for a month asking performers: “Would you like to pose for me?”
When asked to pose in a “classic” manner, sexcam performers become suddenly self-aware; they want to adjust their hair or surroundings to meet the request. For an instant, Webcam Venus reveals the identity that lives just outside the cam space; one where the person must improvise beyond the established protocols of adult performance.
They began to see a paradox emerge: IRL (in real life), art nudes are acceptable while naked bodies are inappropriate; NIRL (not in real life), graphic sex acts are acceptable yet de-sexualization on cam was difficult for some performers to maintain.