Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We Live in Public trailer

I'm a big fan of watching documentaries on social movements. Whether it's beatniks, hippies, mods, graffiti artists or emo-chicks, I'm fascinated by it all. However, I never felt that my generation had it's own movement in a traditional sense, grunge was too short-lived, hip-hop had waned by the time I was listening to it.

"Social networking" was the only thing that I can remember seeing emerge. It started with -chatrooms and aim, and then the social communities began to emerge. I remember my first. I joined whimit, just like every other Russian in my school, it was a small community, but myspace was coming soon. I can still remember this first participation, probably in the way some people remember their first concert. It was odd sharing with others, posting about myself, my interests, my photos. It was all new.

What's interesting is the fact that there is no one movement anymore. Music and fashion are no longer the arbiters of youth culture, they are merely parts of a larger whole. The predominant movement of this era is far more amorphous. I think in the future, the last ten years will be seen just as the internet years, and like any movement, the internet years are probably in a steady state of decline.

If you think in terms of collective movements, the internet is an interesting phenomena. All movements start with a disaffected youth group, but never has a movement had a span so wide and a meaning so undefinable. Whether it's blogging, vlogging, tweeting, or things as obscure as masking, every person has a space to be themselves. It's a movement without group definition. While there is collective sharing, the focus is highly individual.

That's what makes this upcoming documentary so interesting, it's the internet in its fledgling years, not entirely tapped and commercialized; still open for those looking to experiment. The documentary premieres April 5 in New York. It captures the heyday of internet pioneer Josh Harris, who amongst other things founded the world’s first web TV network, “We Live in Public” documents a series of strange performance art experiments that explored, in extreme ways, what it meant to live in full scrutiny of the whole world, all the time.

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