Everyone wants to straddle the line between fantasy and reality until they learn it’s easy to get lost there. In 2013, I started a series called a personal project out of the video footage I made during my time as a cam entertainer. I really got into it. I loved my job.
I titled this series a personal project after I made the video by the same name. The video was a supercut, collected from Xtube.com, of my favorite scenes of what appears to be people being videotaped without their consent. I found myself seeking these videos and saving them like one might find photographs and hide them in a shoe box in a closet. After a certain amount accumulate, they become a collection and begin to describe something. Before an obsession becomes an obsession, it is just a project. The idea that a collection like this would become public is a nightmare for some. The shame involved with acknowledging an obsession with something deemed abject is quite great. I sought to manufacture that shame for myself as a pleasurable act.
I pushed boundaries on both sides of the screen, bringing art to porn consumers and pushing my technology to bend and break to create interesting compositions for an otherwise sterile art and tech community. I was a cam girl long before I ever identified as an artist. The artwork was always in service of my personal life, never the other way around.
The objective for this project was to successfully translate a convincing experience of my body into the browser interface, a place in which I spent hundreds of hours at a time, trying to figure and figure myself. There were technical considerations like which camera to use or what username to claim. Then, there were those more pressing that required a type of self-assessment; what color were my eyes? What was my sexual orientation? Did I smoke? This data was collected then for the search engine, turning me into an indexical product. Online I was a 6 foot tall, 20 year old “latina” who loved candy, Star Trek, and was a “loving trainer.” I always wondered if passersby believed in the profile I’d written. Later I would learn I gave away too much; information, for customers, was a gift.
I was a terrible entertainer, getting caught up in whole conversations, half compensated for anything I’d do. I made money but was mostly busy enjoying myself inside the identity I’d created for the job. I’m not implying that the internet as a medium was alienating me or exploiting me in any sense of the word. I felt in control of my myself for the first time. Most importantly, I was free to be the pervert I always knew I was. I enjoyed the small penis humiliation and gag videos and the lube-y spitty dirty toes that came with the job. I enjoyed everything except: a) a customer who kept repeating the same Mommy-walks-in-on-us-having-sex fantasy every week and b) the rating system.
The rating process was deceptively sweet, placing an archivable value on me and all the rest of the girls. Men, the clients/customers/slaves/donors/daddies, would leave a nice note about us as a service providers. On 3/18/13 NubianGod said “5/5,” More than just a fabulous body and sexual goddess, she can stimulate you mentally. She is well worth your money.”
I was “worth it,” ya’ll. Really “worth it.” I always wondered what it was — the nut? The time? The psychological demands? Was it a reflection of the truth or falsity of my self-marketing? What was really being quantified, I’ll never know.
a personal project: pale of decency is a dreamscape. the colors and sounds swirl and bend and glitch alongside each other. a woman pours milk in a bath only to sit in it with black tights. in this work, fetish rituals mirror each other : the auto erotic is activated as well as voyeurism. what is it to watch yourself watching yourself, doing things for your own pleasure? at the end, a white deer emerges. how does one catch the white deer?
The thaumatrope is a optical toy from the 19th century. With an image printed on two sides and strings on either side, the player spins the object using the tension made by the strings to reveal a single image. A most popular thaumatrope toy was a cage on one side and a bird on the other. This work mirrors of that toy; windows, screens, interfaces, and dungeon cages are overlaid with images of a woman. Is she trying to get free? What does this say about how technology can contain an entrap us? At the end of the video, a voice asked, “You think you're free? Free to do whatever you want?” a_personal_project, IV: password protected thaumatrope, security measures for a caged bird.mov challenges viewers to think about the structure of the web like the structure of a cage.
Eventually, there was no space for me in that cage anymore. I outgrew it. So, I quit.
a_personal_project : nothing_fucking_matters_II (2014) .mov is a short thirty second video originally created for Alfredo Salazar-Caro’s Street Team project. In bold sparkly letters, CUTER ON THE INTERNET is flashed over and over again intermixed with outtakes of footage made for clients of online domination.
a_personal_project : il quitté avant moi_OR_i looked and you weren’t there.mov
a_personal_project : il quitté avant moi_OR_i looked and you weren’t there.mov was made after I quit camming. A man I was seeing would make me prepare for him. This was a night I prepared for him to come over and it reminded me of the nights I’d prepared for cam. I promised myself I’d never prepare like that for anyone ever again. He never came. I stopped making the series after this. I mostly stopped seeing men after this, too.
a personal project
a personal project is a supercut of XTUBE.COM voyeur category porn from the artist's personal collection. a remixed Danny Brown song recorded from a porn stream live chat plays over top of the footage. from secret cameras, security footage, to hand held filming techniques, the intensity gaze ebbs and flows through technological mediums to produce the same arousing effects. you, the viewer, are sucked in by the perspective and implicated in each shot.