We Live In Public

DiG! director Ondi Timoner makes another doc about obsession

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  • Uncut Film Review: WE LIVE IN PUBLIC
  • DIRECTED BY Ondi Timoner
  • STARRING Josh Harris

Ondi Timoner, who made DiG!, about the bitter rivalry between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, returns with another documentary on obsession.

Her subject is Josh Harris, an early internet visionary who became a prophetic conceptual artist with his 1999 project Quiet: We Live In Public, in which 100 people lived in an underground bunker for a month, under constant video surveillance, and surrounded by monitors that allowed them to watch everyone else. It’s here that Timoner, herself a participant, really gets going.

Charting the underground residents’ growing addiction to seeing and being seen, her old footage is unsettling, but grows more intense as Harris moves to his next stage. Rigging his own apartment with webcams then locking the door, he and his girlfriend set out to live their own lives for the scrutiny of online viewers. The project eventually bankrupted him, and almost cost his sanity.

A mad guru, addiction to technology and the screen, the willing surrender of privacy, it’s reminiscent of an early David Cronenberg sci-fi horror. Until you remember that, from Big Brother to YouTube to Facebook, it’s one we’re happy to live in today.

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