“On Dreams and Screens” investigates how intimate and real you can get through a web camera, and what emotional patterns are likely to be formed after hours spent in the online fantasy machine. Ultimately, I seek to understand the paradoxical relationship of intimacy and distance, connection and disconnection, in a world newly transformed.
Online webcam models, or cam girls, turn out to be experts in the field of screen-based human bonding – their livelihood depends on it. They have long struggled how to communicate from one side of the screen to the other: something we just started familiarizing ourselves with in times of social distancing and remote work. What have they learned? Who are they? What do they have to teach us?
I focused on a group of Ukrainian girls with camming experience. I photographed them in moments of self-contemplation – in the places of their childhood, favorite nature spots, or at home. One of the intentions in reaching the emotional, and sometimes subconscious depth of my subjects (who, against all the journalistic standards, became my dear friends) was breaking a "sex worker" stigma and humanizing a figure of an Easter European female.
"The problem becomes increasingly complex in techno-culture, where people find themselves in virtual theaters alien to everyday life but which have a tremendous impact on it." — quote from “Recombinant Theatre and Digital Resistance” by Critical Art Ensemble, 2000.