Currently Off Sight is an art-based project that explores the politics and poetics of visibility on sex webcam platforms. Rather than exceptions, Currently Off Sight considers sex webcam platforms paradigmatic for the entanglements of work and daily life in a discriminatory environment. As such, sexcam platforms become a magnifying lens to investigate what it means to be visible and invisible online, querying the different strategies and tactics that modulate this visibility. In a context of constant deplatforming, banning, and discrimination of sex and sex workers1, Currently Off Sight interrogates visibility as a governance tool.
Despite the asymmetry of power between the sexcam platform and its performers, Currently Off Sight resists a binary understanding of what is visible and invisible in that context. Instead of just making visible what is hidden, this project questions the purpose of rendering things (hyper)visible at the expense of others while exploring the many shades between visible and invisible. Foregrounding webcammers’ voices, this project examines the ways in which visibility manifests on the platform, and the various degrees of agency the different actors have there
Currently Off Sight interrogates the poetics of visibility on the platform by engaging with the forms that this visibility acquires. The project is divided into chapters, concerning the topics addressed by the webcammers’ testimonies: the circulation of money, the making and presentation of identity, the space of the transmissions, moderation, and surveillance. These topics are formally explored through the media elements present on the platform: audio, video, chat windows, images, and animated gifs. Citing the aesthetics used by the sexcam platform and webcammers’ profiles, these elements are placed on a simulated desktop that works as a stage and place of observation. The desktop serves also as a way to acknowledge the presence of the user in this sexcam entanglement. It is the user, the audience, who must decide what they want to know about the functioning of the platform, what they do want to see.
1. Blunt and Stardust, “Automating Whorephobia”; Are and Paasonen, “Sex in the Shadows of Celebrity.”
Antonia Hernández is a theorist, designer and media artist whose work explores infrastructural relations of intimacy, combining theoretical investigation with arts-based practices to understand the fleshy, living, and domestic aspects of media. She has presented her work and research-creation methodologies widely at conferences, exhibitions, and in artist talks, and is preparing a book on the role of fictional currencies in sexcam platforms. antoniahernandez.com
Lotte Louise de Jong is a media artist from the Netherlands with a background in filmmaking. Her work is research-based and ranges from physical, digital and online installations to more traditional forms of narrative. Her practice addresses how we, as a society, view and shape our identity through mediated spaces like the digital world. The internet as a space for exploring intimacy has been the main focus of her past projects. lottelouise.nl
The room is the unit, not the performer.
There are spaces where someone could sleep, kitchens, living rooms, places with a chair and a keyboard, few outdoor ones, the back of a car, a bathroom. Most of the time, a room shows a bedroom with a disarranged bed occupying most of the frame. Even when performers are presumably transmitting from a sexcam studio–with several performers broadcasting from the same apartment or building–settings are often presented as someone’s rooms. Sometimes the decoration makes the room unnameable, or walls are used as chroma keys that display graphics or animated gifs. Sometimes it is neutral–in an IKEA sense.
The sexcam platform is the roommate version of the Playboy Mansion: a place with no distinction between work and leisure yet always producing.
Sometimes a kitchen is a scenario, and sometimes is a place where people cook or prepare a smoothie.
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