REFRESH

Web

New York, NY

1998

Unlike invasive security cameras, web cams are voluntary and friendly––delivering to your computer screen such diverse sites as tourist attractions, traffic intersections, shopping malls, offices, bedrooms, or even the inside of someone’s refrigerator. The live cam phenomenon can be thought of as a form of public service, a mode of passive advertisement, a new type of exhibitionism, and a self-disciplinary device. Despite this apparent innocence, cameras are willfully positioned, their field of vision is carefully considered, and behavior within that field cannot help but anticipate the looming presence of the global viewer. The web project for DIA appropriates 12 live office cams from across the globe chosen for their banality. An uneventful video still captured from each site serves as the base image for a series of altered stills in the telling of 12 short fictions. The viewer can select a site from an index, advance or move backwards in time, zoom in, and discover information that will add up to or collapse a narrative. These post-paranoid narratives involve hiding in plain view, producing false appearances, and performing for the camera. Accompanying the images is an ongoing link with the actual live cam site. Seeing the live view through the filter of the narrative, knowing too much, and expecting a reciprocity between fact and fiction, forces the viewer into a peculiar form of watching. Live and mediated information entangle sufficiently to turn the art viewer into an inadvertent voyeur.

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