We Live in Public: Interview
The Sundance-winning documentary ‘We Live in Public’ is released next week, on 13th November. The documentary (http://www.dogwoof.com/films/weliveinpublic/), distributed by Dogwoof, looks at the impact of the Internet on society through the eyes of Internet pioneer and artist Josh Harris. He set up an experiment living in public for 100 days and transmitting his experiences and thoughts through the Internet. Josh Harris became a millionaire through his Internet business which created unique experiments to explore the impact of the Internet in our lives. And he has now moved on to become an artist who challenges our aesthetic and social concepts, provoking audacious discussions on the impact of the Internet.
By Magda Hercheui
NMK has interviewed Terry Stevens, from Dogwoof, about the film.
NMK: What is the main message of the documentary?
Terry Stevens: The message we took from the film, without wanting to speak for Director Ondi Timoner, is to be aware of personal identity in the wake of the Internet’s revolutionary impact on human interaction. We Live in Public stands as a cautionary tale to members of the Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter generation.
NMK: How do you think this current situation of living in public affects society and individuals?
Terry Stevens: The advent of new technologies and social media in particular has made interaction much easier across greater distances. Distance no longer limits our ability to communicate in the same way it used to. However, new technologies can also limit traditional forms of interaction, isolating people from day to day physical interaction and from one another.
NMK: The documentary argues that there is a price to pay if you live in public. In your opinion, what are the trends in relation to how people interact through social media? Do you believe people are going to become exhausted and withdraw to some extent from social media; or people will increase their exposure to social media in spite of the cost of living in public?
Terry Stevens: Social media will adapt to us and us to it. In the UK, five years ago sites like Friends Reunited were hugely popular. The popularity of this and other sites waned after time and people turned to Myspace, and now to Facebook and Twitter. People will always determine their level of interaction, and new mediums will help to facilitate this as best they can. New technologies have become a part of our lives now, but the way we interact and use them will change as technological advances are made.
NMK: How do you think organisations and institutions can explore positively this given situation of living in public?
Terry Stevens: Our ability to connect with one another is at a level never experienced before. Distance is simply not an impediment to communication. Rather than exploit this through mass marketing in the old sense, organisations should seek to identify specific groups of people and speak to them as individuals. Direct forms of address are available and these should be utilised to engage with people on a positive, personal level.
Josh Harris will be taking part in Q&As on 13th (18h30) and 14th (20h30) November at Odeon Panton Street, London.
You can follow the film on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/yk8chz8.
You can also join Josh at the Q&As: http://tinyurl.com/yjmfup4.
See more on the life of Josh Harris in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/nov/04/josh-harris-we-live-public.