Some of us take video chatting for granted in the year 2013, where manufacturers stick webcams in anything that will hold one. But imagine how mind-blowing the invention was when it first appeared in the mid '90s. It was something Josh Harris realized the potential of almost immediately. Incredibly prescient, he founded a couple web sites that featured streaming video. But it was his two We Live In Public pieces that generated the most buzz. Both of these involved wiring spaces in which people lived for constant broadcasting of video on the Internet. The first was a kind of party den, a converted building in New York City that was the home of legendary parties in the late '90s, all broadcast live. The police eventually shut that down.
Harris' second We Live In Public project was another house wired up for live viewing. This time, though just he and his girlfriend lived there. That ended in calamity, as is chronicled in the 2009 documentary, also titled We Live In Public.
Today, the forum is more pointed but almost as durational. Take Molly Soda's Inbox Full. For eight hours, the artist read unread messages from her Tumblr inbox aloud to a camera. In comparison to someone such as Bruce Nauman, whose video art was of similar, if not more physically demanding repetition, this removes an elitist element, taken out of the gallery and onto the Web.