VVEBCAM

From Rhizome Artbase
20 February 2007
Description

VVEBCAM, published on YouTube in 2007, is a video in which the artist stares intently into a webcam as cartoonish clip art figures float around her face. This early example of YouTube-as-medium departs from the usual tropes of the camgirl genre, lacking erotic innuendo or a direct address to the camera. Instead, it depicts Cortright as a computer user, deeply immersed in the consumer-grade visual effects available via her webcam. Unlike a typical camgirl, Cortright also engaged in all-out flame wars with commenters. She published the video with a list of accompanying keywords copied from spam accounts, thereby drawing in viewers who were trawling YouTube for titillating or offensive material, and cheating their expectations. These tags also led to YouTube's removal of the video in 2010.

Rhizome staff
2021

VVEBCAM, originally published on YouTube in 2007, highlights the conditions of watching video on the internet, mirroring the passive consumption of online content that the viewer him/herself performs while watching the work.

Petra Cortright
21 October 2011

Originally published on YouTube in 2007, Petra Cortright's VVEBCAM highlights the conditions of watching video online. Her passive surveillance of her videoscreen is mirrored by the viewer's own experience at that very moment, who is necessarily also consuming online content as they watch the work. Cortright complicates the dynamic of disengaged onlooking, however, by inserting a collection of animations that flash across the video. Default effects taken from the $20 webcam she used to record the work, running the gamut from cats to lightning bolts, literally animate the otherwise nonactive scene. Her passive stare mixed with these flashing images lend the video a hypnotic quality, further accentuated by the background music, Ceephax's "Summer Frosby," playing in Cortright's iTunes as she filmed. Issues regarding how and where an artwork is displayed online, as well as the techniques used for its dissemination, are also alluded to in VVEBCAM's original YouTube version. Cortright includes with it an extensive and dizzying list of tags, luring users who happen to search for any of these terms––"Paris Hilton" or "ESPN", for example––to stumble upon this video, and thereafter mirror its enactment of passive viewership.

Petra Cortright
21 October 2011
Metadata
Variant History
outside link
2007
open submission
21 October 2011
Petra Cortright
static files
21 October 2011
cloning
Rhizome staff