The newly launched brbxoxo scans through and broadcasts camera feeds from online sex cam sites, but only once their performers have stepped away.
None of the settings are particularly sexy. Rather, the video clips (which refresh automatically on the site) portray small corners of living spaces to reveal poignant personal details of their inhabitants — a brown couch, a picture on a wall, an empty bed whose comforter has been disturbed — and evoke a surprising loneliness despite their blatantly ordinary qualities. They offer a brief and somehow intrusive view into another person’s life.
The project was conceived by artist Addie Wagenknecht and art professor Pablo Garcia, with code by Brannon Dorsey. Wagenknecht explains how the “cam spaces” themselves layer a secondary narrative for the viewer:
There seems to be this lack of awareness of personal space or how the camera frames it. There is no curation, the cam spaces can often tell you so much about a person—what they eat, what they wear, their taste in art, music, location.
We’ve seen social media redefine boundaries of public and private, encouraging us to share details about ourselves that might formerly have been reserved for close friends, family, or no one else. In any given afternoon we might catch a glimpse of a high school acquaintance’s bathroom sink, seeing which brand of lotion and hairspray she uses, or a co-worker’s nephew’s macaroni art through the newsfeeds on our phones, tablets, and laptops. More and more, people are revealing their lives online.
We’re also able to share only the best versions of ourselves with our audiences — the best camera angles and the best moments of our social lives — to paint the most favorable picture we can. Social media is much less documentary than aspirational. Brbxoxo’s purpose, then, is twofold: to illuminate the banal everyday spaces not worthy of posting to social media, and to suggest we question whether our own digital exhibitionism is so different from sex-cam performers’.