Sundance Review: ‘We Live in Public’
Everyone who does anything with video on the Internet should see this movie, and I really don’t know why more press didn’t see it at Sundance. This is a documentary/biopic of Josh Harris, who is the pioneer of the Internet and video over the Internet. WIthout this guy, I would not be able to be doing what I am currently doing. If you think about it, everything he did back in 1996-1999 paved the way for “blogs” as you know them.
First off let me say that this guy, I hadn’t heard of him either and I fancy myself to be pretty knowledgeable when it comes to things about the Internet. This guy is responsible for Chat Rooms, I know they aren’t as cool now but when I first got AOL back in 1999 that is all I did was chat. Not to mention this guy is responsible for TV on the web, he created a whole television network and broadcast it over the Internet and did it for free.
This documentary follows what he was able to accomplish, what he predicted would be the future of online media and how he was able to do everything that he did.
The main parts of this documentary focus around 2 parts of his “experiments”. The first being called “Quietly We Live in Public”, which he setup a HUGE underground “hotel” to serve as the first voyeur site on the Internet. The entire house was rigged with camera’s, video conferencing and you got to watch as these people lived, ate, slept, had sex, showered… anything you would do at home, they did it as well but they did it in public and it was all broadcast on the Internet completely uncensored. It didn’t last long, and at the end of the 30 days it was shut down by police who thought it was some sort of doomsday cult that was going to organize a mass suicide.
After that went down the tube, he started weliveinpublic.com which was a multi million dollar project that he did with his girlfriend and they broadcast every moment of their life online. People would log on, watch and chat with them all the while it was destroying everything they had.
Ondi Timoner has created a true masterpiece and it is something that needs to be seen by anyone who is involved with, or creates things that go on the web. Its like a professional basketball player watching old film of players like Wilt Chamberlain, or Michael Jordan. She had a personal relationship with him, as she was one of the people that lived in his first experiment and you can really tell how much this project means to her, it comes through in the doc.
Josh Harris created the game, and we are all just playing in his world.