2015 | Single-Channel Video | Webcam | 11 minutes

 

„Always Here“ is a post-cinematic documentary about adult webcam performers. While doing research for another project, I stumbled upon different websites, where users can pay for private erotic performances by men, women, but also couples. Most of these websites’ ‘models’ come from Eastern Europe, particularly from Romania and the Ukraine. Many of them work in large sexcam studios with dozens of cabins, while an increasing number of them also offer their services from within their private homes. During much of their work time, the performers sit in front of the camera and try to attract visitors to pay for a private one-on-one session. Yet as they often work in shifts of eight to ten hours (and thus spend a good deal of their lives publicly in front of the webcam) the mundaneness and banality of the everyday inevitably disrupts their performance at times. Fascinated by these glimpses of ‘real’ quotidian life, I spent hours and hours as a voyeur on the website. I witnessed moments of boredom, everyday conflicts between couples, but also moments of closeness and true affection. The film I edited out of this material engages with the aesthetics of the ‘observational cinema’ tradition of documentary filmmaking. In this case, however, the observer is literally absent from the scene as everything unfolds without the presence of a director or camera person. Yet those fleeting moments of intimacy between my protagonists all occur in their acute awareness of being watched by strangers. Even though this film is not crafted through the conventional means of cinema (it is ‘shot’ with nothing but a screen capture software), I am convinced that it must be shown on the big screen. I am interested in the tensions between the private and the public, between voyeurism and empathy that inevitably arise when images meant for singular consumption on a laptop screen become re-framed for the experience of collective spectatorship within the dispositif of cinema.

 

 

SCREENINGS, EXHIBITIONS, AWARDS (SELECTION)

International Film Festival Rotterdam
European Media Arts Festival Osnabrück
Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival
Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Vkunst Frankfurt
Guanajuato International Film Festival
dokumentART Neubrandenburg – City of Neubrandenburg Award
Kurzfilmfestival Köln
Konstanzer Kurz.film.spiele
Cairo International Video Art Festival
Kongress der Möglichkeiten. Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien Berlin
drama baby! on staging the self. Kühlhaus Berlin
Anthropologies Numériques. Le Cube. Paris