We Live in Public – an award winning documentary by Ondi Timoner- is a portrait of a visionary, a troubled one. Pre Hulu, Nextflix, FB and twitter, Josh Harris, an internet entrepreneur, imagined a world where we would be watched and monitored by the very technology we use to connect with one another. This was back in the day, yeah, in the 90’s – and cut to now, ’tis true. The desire to be watched and to watch others is explored in his amazing 30 day collective experience called Quiet- where he created a labrynith of networked video camera in a loft in Manhattan and “enlisted” people to live in the space under 24/7 surveillance. Everything and everyone was on camera, and everyone within the space could watch anyone within the space doing…anything.
“With Quiet: We Live in Public, Harris proved how, in the affiliate future of standard life online, we will willingly trade our privacy for the connection and peer recognition we all deeply desire. Through his experiments, including another six-month stint living under 24-hour home security camera systems online which led him to experience nervous breakdown symptoms. Josh Harris displayed the demonstration effect of the price we will all pay for living in public.”
The performative nature of social media I suppose is outstanding for marketers as it truly does exploit our basic human nature to connect and command space with “identity.” At once a very interesting space for artists and brands alike, but also calls into relief the “digital breakdowns” I remember from a few people in my own FB feed, where they posted something that might have been troubling themselves in the moment, but in retrospect splayed them too wide open. Perhaps we should just keep it to what we’re eating for lunch? No..life is messy…keep your voice coming….as this is now our medium, like it or not.