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We Live in Public

We Live in Public

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Published by rachelblumenthal
This piece was originally published on Boston24.com in September 2009. The site no longer exists, so I'm uploading the document here for the purposes of embedding it in my work sample collection on my website.
This piece was originally published on Boston24.com in September 2009. The site no longer exists, so I'm uploading the document here for the purposes of embedding it in my work sample collection on my website.

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Categories:Types, Reviews, Film
Published by: rachelblumenthal on Feb 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Greatest Internet Pioneer Youve Never Heard Of 
Rachel Leah Blumenthal(Originally published on Boston24.com on 9/5/2009. The website no longer exists.)Forty years after the birth of the Internet, award-winning director Ondi Timoner reveals theprice were paying for it in her new documentary,
We Live in Public
. The film had its Boston premiereFriday at Harvard Squares Brattle Theatre followed by a question-and-answer session with Timoner, theonly filmmaker to win the Sundance Grand Jury Prize twice - once for
(2004) and once for
We Livein Public
. She also spoke to a small audience of students earlier in the day on character development innarrative non-fiction at Boston Universitys College of Communication.Filmed over the course of a decade,
We Live in Public
follows Joshua Harris, the greatestinternet pioneer youve never heard of, as he predicts a future without privacy, a world whereeveryone wants to share every detail of his or her life with everyone else. Timoner first met Harris whenshe spent time working at his company Pseudo.com, the first internet television network. About a yearafter she left, he called and asked her if she wanted to document cultural history. In fact, Harris wasplanning a mind-control experiment that he later referred to as an art project, and 100 excited NewYorkers were his guinea pigs. At the turn of the millennium, Harris began his 30-day project, which hecalled Quiet. His 100 volunteers lived together in a bunker below the streets of New York City, oncamera 24 hours a day, able to watch each other on monitors throughout the bunker. Nothing wasprivate: there were cameras in the bathrooms, in the showers, in the pods where the volunteers slept,in the bunkers gun range. Everyone was given a uniform to wear, and everyone underwent traumaticinterrogations. But people were drawn into the experiment with the promise of a free place to stay,free food, free drinks, and a month to not be alone. Everythings free, except the video that wecapture of you  that we own, explained Harris. Part drug-fueled orgy, part exhausting nightmare, theexperiment ended when police raided the bunker thinking that the group was a millennium cult.Timoner originally intended her film to just be about Quiet, but it didnt seem relevant tosociety as whole  at least not yet. I didnt know I had a film until society caught up with the film,Timoner told Boston University students in her Friday lecture. The rise of Facebook clued her in, and sherecognized that Harris experiment was a prediction for what society would become as the internet tookover our lives. Using the near-completed cut of her film on Quiet, Timoner created
We Live in Public
,which also shows Harris taking his experiment even further: he becomes his own guinea pig. AfterQuiet ended, he and his girlfriend, Tanya, set up cameras and microphones throughout their house tobroadcast their every move over the internet for six months on a site they called WeLiveInPublic.com,which included a chatroom next to the live surveillance video. Tanya eventually left. Josh Harris beganto lose his mind.

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