Webcam Wonderland depicts the workspace of webcam models, sex workers who broadcast live shows on the internet via webcam.
Webcam Wonderland: The Cubicles of Sexwork
Webcam Wonderland depicts the work-space of webcam models, sex workers who broadcast live shows on the internet via webcam. In the era of global capitalism, even sex workers are outsourced. While most clients are from first-world English speaking countries, many webcam models live in South America and Eastern Europe (especially in Romania and Columbia).
The host websites for this industry operate in the gig-economy. Besides administration and website development, the sites don’t hire models, own equipment, or have facilities (in a similar way to Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb). The models are paid a percentage of the tips they receive and half typically goes to the hosting website. While many webcam models perform in the comfort of their home, “webcam studios” are a popular alternative which can provide the basic infrastructure that host websites don’t. Often taking another 25% of a model’s tips, the studios provide HD webcams, lighting, language courses, training, and privacy.
The elaborate interiors of many webcam studios are designed to attract a client’s attention with patterns and colors. While the rooms often mimic living rooms, bedrooms, and office spaces, they are completely nonfunctional and crafted to only be seen online. Backdrops, green screens, wallpapers, and decorations are saturated in fantasy… a fantasy that the viewer is mentally transported to and physically longs for. The hyperreal heterotopia created in these rooms clearly illustrate notions of camp aesthetics.
The images are taken during the model’s momentary absence in order to document the space. Webcam Wonderland has become a digital archive in which I have collected over 150 webcam studio rooms from across the world. For me, the empty interiors are cathartic. The objectified odalisque is freed, if only in my work.