At our WACTAC meeting on Sunday, I rambled a bit about artist / internet pioneer Josh Harris’s project “We Live in Public.” Here is a more sensible summary of his work. The project was essentially a six-month stint involving Josh living under 24-hour live surveillance online, which eventually led him to mental collapse. You can read more about it here. He also did a project called “Quiet,” which was a experiment involving more than 100 volunteers living in a contained human terrarium under New York City. This project also had that “Big Brother” element, with hundreds of surveillance cameras recording the volunteers. The experiment was highly controversial, and was eventually shut down Jan 1st 2000 by the NYPD.
I think his work raises a lot of interesting and important questions about the role of privacy and individuality in our increasingly technology and internet-based world. How will / does technology affect our behavior, identities, health, etc? According to Wikipedia, Josh Harris believes that eventually ”technological singularity will be reached and the human being will cease to be an individual, and the machine becomes the new king of the jungle.” I’m not sure if I agree with this statement, but it is certainly very thought provoking (and slightly terrifying…) What do you think??
Below is a picture of the living quarters in the underground “Quiet” project. The volunteers lived in little pods each with television screens and cameras.