Porn creates and feeds desire. Two artists infiltrate the cybersex industry
Half gonzo journalism and half live documentary, "Trojana" raises the relationship between sexual violence and the webcam business, which has one of its…
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Nearly 40,000 Colombian models connect daily to webcams - both at home and in the country's more than 1,000 production studios - to make the sexual fantasies of Internet users a reality, most of them from the so-called "first world."
There are many types of models, from those who have only been working from home for a few months to the "top" who can earn more than $14,000 a month by connecting for 6 to 8 hours to the cam and attending to the strangest voyeur's requests. However, according to those who participate in this business that has its largest global market in Colombia after Romania, webcammers are not sex workers. The nuance is virtuality itself.
But how do these erotic spectacles affect the way we judge bodies and even the increase of sexual violence in a place where half a hundred girls are sexually abused every day?
This was the question posed by Colombian Andres Montes and French Maud Madlyn, performers who decided to infiltrate the industry as webcammers in order to understand its ins and outs, as they shaped a controversial living arts documentary - a mixture of live show, videos and fragments of essays and statistics collected during their research - that premiered last week in Cali (Colombia) and will be presented in various countries in Europe and America during 2020.
"Before the broadcasts started, I had a lot of questions and worries: Would I be comfortable showing my breasts? My genitalia? Would I be comfortable doing explicit sexual acts like masturbating or giving a sex toy a blowjob? Would I show all of me, just my face, just my body?," said the artist to The Bogota Post.
And she added that later it seemed surprisingly simple, so much so that she was able to realize the "sexual object role" for which the woman is trained.
"Pornography is a path of contradiction because it is so taboo that no one claims to consume it, but it is the most-watched genre in the world."
"Sitting there, watching with interest when they talk to me, making jokes, exhibiting my body and moving seductively is something I already had internalized. But I had to work as a webcammer to realize it," she said. A week before the November 15 premiere, she and Montes were still working as models.
One of the hypotheses made by Montes and Madlyn in "Trojana" is how the rape culture today is related to a type of sexist pornography and easily available on the Internet, which eroticizes abuse and makes capitalist power games relevant.
"Pornography is a path of contradiction because it is so taboo that no one claims to consume it - that's why it's hard to study- but it's the most-watched genre in the whole world and the one that moves more money," explained the artist.
“We want to expose and question without any kind of sweetener that there is normalized violence against women and the LGBTQ community, and deconstruct it," she concludes. As long as we don't talk about pornography, we won't talk about violence either."
"Sitting there, watching with interest when they talk to me, making jokes, exhibiting my body and moving seductively is something I already had internalized.”
Live documentaries and audiovisual theatrical works that explore themes of great social significance, such as climate change, human trafficking or migrations, are a growing trend with international examples such as the Spanish company Agrupación Señor Serrano.
Using a name of "malware" that appears to be harmless, "Trojana" is opening the debate not only about the boundaries between gonzo journalism and performance art, but also about issues related to obscenity, intimacy or violence that "enchants" reality, or infects it through the gaze.
If pornography creates desire and nurtures it, what is it exactly?