Webcam Tears meet OKCupid Enemies. OKCupid Enemies, Webcam Tears. We’re going to have a conversation, a possible conversation, inspired by Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli’s ongoing “Impossible Conversation” at the Met, and brought to you by the internet. I’ll be your moderator tonight. First, some introductions.
Webcam Tears is a tumblr hosted by the beautiful net culture curator Dora Moutot, a 25-year-old graduate of Central Saint Martins and host of many other amazing sites including La Gazette du Mauvais Gout. Webcam Tears is a thematic vlog (that’s video blog) made up of recordings of individuals crying in front of their webcams. In her About page, Dora explains, “In a time where showing genitals on the internet is not shocking anymore, tears are a new form of pornography.” She calls it an art project. Webcam Tears is all about intimacy in the age of the internet; the relationships we have with our screens; the face we put out to the world; performance, intersubjectivity, truth, the usual. Most of the contributors to Webcam Tears are women (we should reflect on why). Webcam Tears inspires me to submit because, I realized, I know what I look like when I smile, even when I touch myself (Narcissus), but tears obscure, and I have no idea how I look like when I cry. Tags: vision, exhibition, bawling, wailing, authenticity.
OKCupid Enemies makes me want to cry. On OKCupid, the most normalized of online dating services, you can choose to view those you are compatible with as well as those you wouldn’t be. This service is called “enemies.” Okcenemies.tumblr.com is an inventory, again submission based, of enemy profiles. Most of the submissions are of men (no wondering why). Many are date rape horrifying, some are hilarious, some so absurd they have to be hoaxes. A few favorites: a Jersey Shore looking motherfucker says (sic), “The six things I could never do without: 1. Is dance 2.make love 3.go out to eat 4.go to the movies 5.kiss 6.die”; long hair, double chin, muscle shirt, oddly eyebrow-less tells us, “The most private thing I’m willing to admit: morning boner LOL”; old dude: “I am sterile. I just have a *fun gun.* ”. Like Webcam Tears, this tumblr is about the face we put out to the world. But, unlike Dora’s project, where contributors submit their own self-portraits, OKCupid Enemies is exploitative and mocking (but deservedly so, no?). Tags: gross-out, troll, Cruel Intentions, cunnilingus, true love.
Infatuated by both but unable to commit to either, I decided to play matchmaker and introduce Webcam Tears to OKCupid Enemies. I asked Dora and the creator behind OKCupid Enemies (who wishes to remain anonymous) to come up with three questions to ask one another. I had a few questions myself. And so we have it, a possible conversation:
OKCupid Enemies guy, I know you want to remain anonymous but the internet has too much anonymity, don’t you think? Who are you? I don’t need a name, but something. Are you an optimist, fatalist, depressive? Do you have good relationships?
Anonymous: I’m just an asshole who had a funny idea.
Dora: How and why did you start OKCupid Enemies? Were you trying to find love for yourself on OKCupid? (Be honest aha.)
Anonymous: My OKCupid profile is completely blank. I signed up for an account and answered some matchmaking questions in order to see my enemies, and I encourage everyone to do the same thing. Creeping on your enemies is fun and often disgusting. Also, my New Years resolution was to do something big on Tumblr.
Dora: What is your favorite OKCupid enemies image?
Anonymous: There are so many good ones. It’s hard to pick! I really like Seinfeld Spiderman (I think it was a submission).
Dora: Do you actually talk to these people (and meet some maybe?) or you do you only “take a walk” and take screenshots?
Anonymous: I still contribute occasionally, but at this point most of the posts on OKCenemies are submitted by followers. Personally, I don’t talk to anyone who ends up on the site unless they message me after the fact. One guy actually asked me to post a link to his OKCupid profile with his picture.
Do you appreciate that your site screams fakery? I’m terrified by the users profiled but, like in an episode of Law & Order: SVU, I know they’re not altogether real. They aren’t, right? How many of these profiles do you gather are pranks?
Anonymous: Any lady who has ever used a dating website will tell you that there’s no shortage of weird perverts on the internet. I’ve reviewed so many crazy submissions that I’m no longer shocked by the what people are willing to admit online. Girls definitely have to endure a lot more craziness. Unfortunately, I believe that the majority of the posts on OKCupid Enemies are real. Maybe not all of them, but most of them.
Dora, would you ever register for OKCupid or a similar service?
Dora: Yeah, why not! I don’t see why people are still very shy or ashamed about being on these kind of services. To me it doesn’t say “I’m a loser.”
Anonymous: Dora, do you think girls need to have their feelings witnessed?
Dora: No, I don’t think so. I mean, it’s not like these girls are recording themselves every time they cry. (I do, but the others girls probably don’t.) They must cry pretty often in front of their computers, but they don’t record it all the time. They recorded it especially for this project. But, yeah, recording yourself in such a private moment is an egocentric thing to do anyway! But it’s also a way of saying, fuck off, I’m sad and pathetic, and it’s just fine, it’s fine to be sad. There is no shame, so I might record it and show it to the world, why not? There is nothing to hide. I started to record my tears just because I felt less alone. It was like someone (the webcam/the internet) was watching me, which felt… nice.
Anonymous: How long does it usually take to transition between crying alone for strangers on a webcam and masturbating alone for strangers on a webcam?
Dora: I don’t think the people who cry in front of a webcam are the same ones who masturbate in front of a webcam! It’s almost more personal to cry in front of a webcam than to masturbate though. And if there is a way to do it, I think it would be the other way. Masturbate first, put it online, and then cry because you regret it and record it to send it to me!
Anonymous: What’s your favorite way to make someone cry?
Dora: I try to not make people cry. People make me cry.
Dora, do you consider yourself an artist?
Dora: I don’t consider myself as an artist. I would describe myself more as a curator and a journalist. I just love putting things together, images, words, videos etc to explain new ideas or new aesthetics.
Do you theorize about the world wide web and how it’s changing our minds?
Dora: It does change our minds a lot! The internet is a wonderful window on the world. I’m completely fascinated by online culture. The internet gives me the opportunity to have magical glasses, it’s like being able to see through the walls. If you have good Google skills, you can discover a lot of things, you can feel trends, new aesthetics, political movements, anything related to culture or society before it really “explodes” in the real world.