Crying Webcam Tears / Hyperallergic

Screenshot of WebCam Tears

Screenshot of WebCam Tears

CHICAGO — I cry, you cry, we fuck each others’ feelings, we broke up, we got back together, and somehow it all ended up on Tumblr. What is crass and private is public and affective, considered just another aspect of affect, of gaining likes, retweets, and reblogs through sharable, likable emotions. Internet culture workers, whose source of currency is emotion and who are paid in thought provocation, acknowledgment, and attention, know this all too well. As in any relationship, the more you give, the more you get. But when you are giving to the internet, where consumption is never-ending and needs are ever-increasing, the emotions are endless. The internet is a goldmine of creative capital, but this currency doesn’t always pay dividends, and often times it’s not something one can cash in at the local exchange.

Two embodiments of this sort of affective labor can be found in the tumblelogs Webcam Tears and Marina Abramović Made Me Cry, in which moments of extreme emotion are mediated through the internet, appearing cleanly curated and sterile, yet erupting with bodily sensations, feelings, stuff that makes you want to stare and do something, maybe even get off. In this affective space, the body is fragmented yet the feelings remain. If you, the internet, fuck my feelings, there’s nothing I can do to get you off.

Webcam Tears is a collection of videos and GIFs of mostly white young women crying in front of a webcam, most likely toward or about the human who is receiving these images on the other end. The images are anonymous; names do not appear.

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