We Live in Public (2009)
Critic Consensus: This documentary about Josh Harris' surveillance-as-art project exposes the problems of privacy in the internet age and asks provocative questions about the power of ego in a place where everything is on display.
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Critic Reviews for We Live in Public
Josh Harris focuses the lens on himself. You probably have never heard of him. And when the film is over, you may wish you still hadn't.
The big question is whether we're now living in a more pragmatic time.
We Live in Public is the kind of nonfiction film that seems to have been conceived to prove that truth is stranger than almost any fiction...
This is a remarkable film about a strange and prophetic man. What does it tell us? Did living a virtual life destroy him?
Midway through We Live in Public, one Quiet participant delivers the hard social lesson of cyberspace: "The more you get to know everyone, the more alone you become."
Audience Reviews for We Live in Public
I don't know if this documentary wants to explore America's love affair with televised exhibitionism or examine the man who prophesied it, either way it is compelling viewing.
Thought-provoking and intense, this movie falls short when it gets over-confident in its premise that the people featured in the movie are some kind of indicator species prefiguring where the larger culture is heading. Just because Josh Harris did web TV in the early 1990s and experimented with extreme surveillanceâ"and both are increasingly prominent in today's pop cultureâ"doesn't mean that "everyone will live this way in the future." Harris and his cohort were eccentrics, exhibitionists, and "artists" living in New York City in the heady days of the dot-com boom, which needs to be consideredâ"at bestâ"a non-random sample. Moreover, it needs to be mentioned that Harris' supposingly groundbreaking "Quiet" project happened 8 years after the first season of MTV's Real World, and his We Live in Public experiment took place a couple years after The Truman Show. So, although Harris took these ideas a step further in some ways, it's not like he was leaps and bounds beyond pop culture, let alone the best theorizing about the future of technology and culture.
a strange film about a strange person. questions about his mental/ socioemotional health are inevitable. it's a fascinating topic, whether you're already savvy about the world of the dot-com bubble or not. arguably, i and most of my friends came of age around this time, but most of us have no concept of the impact these events may have had on the current world of reality tv, interactive websites, etc. granted, some of it is a bit dated, and some is even disturbing, but on the whole i'd say it's a worthwhile peek into a strange side-road of the history of the internet.
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