Webcams are us

Hi everyone. I would like to share my questions for the webcam, as requested. I sincerely hope they are relevant and useful.
Based on what I have read and seen, and in reference to the creation of ‘ creating a framework for visual studies’, I am struck by some immediate thoughts and questions:
1. From Susanna Mendes Silva art_room work (06), the notion of ownership and agency over the virtual environment seemed to loom very large in terms of some people being aggressive and almost violent in their interactions with the work/artist. In terms then of building an environment, and in the light of the reading of Senft TM 04, Camgirls; Webcams, Live journals and the personal as political in the age of the Global Brand, how do we think or need to think about safety and safe learning environments, if at all? Personally, I would find this very intimidating and not a space in which I would feel like I could contribute, share or learn at all…
2. In the same light, if visual arts are at all to do with ideas and images of intimacy, performance or revelation, how does that occur in a space where regulation or moderation is not an integral part of the environment. As Senft suggests, perhaps a way of ‘pushing on’ with these issues in mind would be simply to think about the construction of some kind of contract or agreement to perform/act in ways that are developmental and beneficial rather than destructive to the space- but then, who would decide what they are…how do people learn or feel obstructed from learning. How long is a piece of string. These things are often difficult to organise in reality, in virtuality just as difficult. I participate in a networked group (London Feminist Network) and occasionally, people are expelled for breaking the pre-agreed and signed up to code of conduct, created by founders who in turn seem to have ‘ownership’ of the space, in turn creating some kind of hierarchical particiaption which has implications of its own….
3. In terms of visual studies, and also the issue of ethics, as raised by Senft, is there any difference between a live/present performance and a virtual/streamed performance? The Big Kiss (Annie Abrahams)seems to assume that if there is, it is not necessarily a problem or an absence…Senft herself says that the absence of present people/activity became what kept her engaged.
4. Annie Abrahams also raises issues around the use of webspaces for personal publicity and less and less for collaboration or collective projects- does this have a bearing on creating a framework for visual studies? What are we likely to learn about? Who is likely to post and publicise their work? Does the space yet again become exclusive and elitist?
5. (Sorry to go on….) Is feminism really able to be ‘done’ any better on the web than in the physical world? How will visual studies accomodate feminist thought or activity differently than any other space, especially given some of the comments and experiences in the literature about voyeurism, control, aggression and the purposes for people’s posting.
I actually have quite a lot more to say/ask about personal and political but fail to find ways to make that fit the visual studies framework brief, so won’t go into it here….
My technical inabilities led once again to me finding myself, despite several attempts, unable to use or find any joy in the WABAC or Archive links on the page, and, given present circumstances, I am not able to do any more searching for jenniCAM or camgirls, much as I am now intriugued and look forward (sceptically) to investigating them.

Unfortunately, due to serious and unforseen circumstances, I am unable to attend the class on Weds 20th. I have to go out of London and apologise for my absence. I don’t normally miss classes but find myself in a potentially ongoing situation which may make me absent for a few weeks. I will keep you posted.
All the best, hope it is a great experience, please don’t anyone get aggressive or feel you own the space 🙂 I look forward to watching you all in action after the event…Thanks, Charlie

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