WHAT:“Selections from Ana Voog Anacam” Exhibit Opening
WHERE:Smitten Kitten, 3010 Lyndale Ave. S.
There are few things more awkward than watching webcam porn from the late 1990s. Everything is stilted, the frames sometimes skip from the hint of a boob straight to penetration and pixilated close-ups send arousal careening into a hope-and-appendage-deflating pit.
Local, multi-faceted artist Ana Voog, creator of the “Anacam” project beginning in 1997, successfully worked to make the medium more erotic than most other sites with the same objective. Her recordings, photography, journal entries and other projects will be on display at Smitten Kitten Sex Toys and Supplies shop this weekend to celebrate the cam pioneer.
The 24/7 streaming webcam and accompanying LiveJournal took advantage of the jilting frames detested on other pages, capturing everything from Voog in the bath, to her eating dinner, to her sexual relationships with various partners until the end of the project in 2009. The cam took images every 30 seconds, which made the stream more haunting and captivating than it feels even with many current streaming projects.
“When I first started, it took one minute or more to download a picture that was 320 by 240 pixels. This is why streaming was not even an option for me when I started,” Voog said. “Even if I could afford it, no one else would have the capacity to receive it.”
A true product of the inaugural web generation, Voog still likes the stop-frame method of communicating. She tried streaming, but appreciated the anticipation of each frame more than giving it all away at once. Despite the advances made in streaming technology, the skill required in producing quality webcam works makes it more appealing to her.
“This is my preferred way, and it’s funny that this method should be old fashioned now,” Voog said. “But I like an image created right away without having to go develop it. There’s instant gratification, but also the anticipation of waiting; it’s a nice balance for me.”
In 1997, hosting websites cost — on average — almost $3,000 per month. For adult sites, it was ten times as expensive. Voog’s webhost tracked the amount of visitors to her site, which capped at one million visitors per day at the time the site debuted. The “Anacam” project exceeded the cap regularly.
“I paid by having members that subscribed to my site at $15 a month. I worked my ass off for it. Literally,” Voog said.
The “Anacam” project continues to have a cult following, although Voog has been working on other personal projects and rearing two toddlers to boot. Some of her most popular undertakings aside from “Anacam” are her crocheted hats, which will also be on display at the Smitten Kitten exhibit. She’ll be focusing primarily on her photography and video, however.
“[I’m trying to] keep things as simple as I can — as hard as that is for me to do, because I am bombastic and not succinct,” Voog said. “I wish I was a minimalist. In the next life, maybe.”
This artist rarely makes public appearances, though she’s made an exception for the folks at Smitten Kitten. Like the elusive female orgasm, this event will prove to be the enlightening manifestation of years of hard work — only to become elusive again by its end.
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