Reflecting on Life on the Internet: Artistic Webcam Performances from 1997 to 2017
© 2021 by the authors; CC BY licence
In Self-Representation in an Expanded Field,
This essay introduces webcam-based artworks by Ana Voog, Isaac Leung, Petra Cortright, Ann Hirsch, Kate Durbin and Molly Soda. It discusses common features of webcam art, artistic motives, the performance of online identities, interaction with the audience, oversharing and censorship, as well as the major shifts caused by the Web 2.0 and its eects on webcam art. Since the commercial launch of the webcam in 1994, users have been able to connect their real-life visual appearance to their online identity. Ana Voog broadcasted twenty-four hours a day live from home. Isaac Leung explored cyber sex, Ann Hirsch reflects on female online self-representation, and Kate Durbin performs as a cam girl on the video sex chat platform Cam4. Molly Soda engages with the expression of emotions. Petra Cortright checks out the default eects of her webcam and uploads the video to YouTube with misleading tags. Whereas early webcam artists explored the self-broadcasting of daily life activities, including nakedness and sex as a part of daily life, the next generation of webcam artists had a dierent approach. They used the webcam and the new possibilities of the Web 2.0 to explore dierent online platforms, their audiences, their social norms, and forms of self-presentation in the digital age.
Self-Representation in an Expanded Field
Published: May 2021