Matthew Belanger

new media artist

Projections of Self in Cyberspace

Unknown Person
Unknown Person

Click a thumbnail to enlarge photos.
The early days of online video conferencing was something of a wild west, with parallels to the party lines of the early 20th century, where multiple people throughout a community would connect and communicate over the same telephone line to share bandwidth. In 1998 I moved to Boston from Little Rock, and my primary means of keeping in touch with my friends and family became my extremely low resolution webcam, a Connectix QuickCam, iVisit video conferencing software, and my 56k US Robotics dial-up modem.

Using this setup, I also sometimes connected with complete strangers to mixed results. Some of the the people that I met in this way became lifelong friends. Most meetings however, were simply fleeting encounters. I was so struck by the various personalities I would meet in this way, that I began capturing a portrait of each person as we would connect for the first time.

With iVisit you never knew what you might see. Often you were connected with others looking for casual conversation. Other times you might be exposed to an exhibitionist's genitals. This series of images represents the broad range of personalities encountered in this way.