Documentary: We live in Public [2009]

We Live in Public is a 2009 documentary by Ondi Timoner which profiles Internet pioneer Josh Harris. It has as its the theme the loss of privacy in the internet age.


As the Web becomes more social, privacy becomes harder and harder to come by.

While sharing experiences and ideas is a key part of what makes social media so powerful, people need to think more about what they’re broadcasting and who can see it.

The message we take from the film is to be aware of personal identity in the wake of the Internet’s revolutionary impact on human interaction.

Official website

Extracted from http://www.weliveinpublicthemovie.com

“Ten years in the making and culled from 5000 hours of footage, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC reveals the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of”, artist, futurist and visionary Josh Harris. Award-winning director Ondi Timoner (DIG! – which also won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2004 – making Timoner the only director to win that prestigious award twice) documented his tumultuous life for more than a decade to create a riveting, cautionary tale of what to expectas the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives.

weliveinpublicHarris, oftencalled the “Warhol of the Web”, founded Pseudo.com, the first Internet television network during the infamous dot-com boom of the 1990s. He also curated and funded the ground breaking project “Quiet” in an underground bunker in NYC where over 100 people lived together on camera for 30 days at the turn of the millennium. With Quiet, Harris proved how we willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire, but with every technological advancement such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter,becomes more elusive. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living with his girlfriend under 24-hour electronic surveillance which led to his mental collapse, Harris demonstrated the price we pay for living in public.”


About Josh Harris:
by Richard Brody, extracted from http://www.newyorker.com/

“Harris, who was a lonely child obsessed with “Gilligan’s Island,” understood the Web’s transformative promise as early as 1980, and, in the nineties, founded Pseudo.com, a New York-based blend of streaming video and original content, for which he hired a horde of downtown artists and turned them loose in an environment that one observer likens to Andy Warhol’s Factory.

josh-harris-with-miniatu-001The film’s turning point comes when he tries to realize his plans for interactive virtual reality in a basement commune—which he compares to a concentration camp—where volunteers would move in and sign themselves over, allowing their every move, including bed and bath activities, to be recorded. Timoner was there, and is captured in Harris’s disturbing yet fascinating archival footage. He took the notion a step farther in his next venture, as he wired his home with cameras and mikes, locked himself in with his girlfriend, and interacted online with viewers, who quickly moved from being spectators to being participants in the couple’s life.

Harris, in Timoner’s privileged view, is graced and cursed with a visionary strangeness; artist, con artist, and businessman; genius, clown, and control freak—he nonetheless brought forth dark wonders, which the director thankfully rescues from oblivion.

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