Windows and Webcams

01.03.2022

Yesterday I read Lukas W's contribution to the Are.na Annual 2022 (the theme of which is Portals). It was great to be welcomed into the book by two things that I pay a lot of attention to, waves and webcams. It was also somehow reassuring to know that someone else also collects screenshots from surfcams.

I've come to think a lot about windows and webcams at the moment. I have a favourite window in my house and recently I began thinking of what future scenarios might look like when I look out of the window. There's something about the frame of a window and the frame of a webcam that draws me into whats on the other side.

One of my favourite webcams is located in the Hoge Veluwe, a national park here in the Netherlands. It's a stationary camera, it doesn't pan or zoom. It just has one shot. Occasionally there will be deer or wildboar that you see roaming this patch of wilderness, but most of the time it's empty.

Lukas writes about the longing to be somewhere which creates a kind of ache. I feel that ache when looking at many of the webcams I revisit again and again, but for me this is something about the live aspect of seeing this place from somehwere else entirely that makes that ache more acute. On a summers day, you can almost smell the pines through the webcam and seeing the sun dapples grass really gives me the feeling of being there. What is that? Why does it do such a thing?

I feel a connection when I look through this webcam that I keep returning to. I have an intimacy with the environment that it presents. If it were to dissapear then I would be sad, maybe the 14 other people watching the webcam with me would also be sad. So many of the webcams I enjoy eventually dissapear, I feel as though there should be a webcam preservation society. If anybody wants to start something like that with me, please tell me.

I think time passing also plays a part of why I find these little portals so interesting. Webcam time feels different to most-of-the-internet-time. It's 'real time', which is another topic I would also like to revisit again soon. It's difficult to find that kind of pace on the internet with everything moving so fast and so much information waiting for me.

I'll put together a webcam Are.na channel soon that I'll post here.

Backā€¦