Opinion: Josh Harris on CAM LIFE: The Art of Generation Alpha

 Proposal for Wired City, Josh Harris' internet television station

By JOSH HARRIS January, 2020

2020 is the inflection year wherein remnants of the Renaissance paint and brush form factor give way to the virtual arts. Today the 'action' in contemporary art is in social media and virtual installations rather than canvas and traditional sculpture.

Cam Life (in 2020 the world is truly a sound stage) is the recognition that on balance virtual relationships supersede physical relationships. For Generation Alpha artists the Cam Life world is a fresh and exciting medium at the forefront of the new wave of contemporary art.

The example below reflects the interim period wherein man and machine are still cooperating (by 2045 humans become a redundant species on planet earth) and as such offers a rich and exciting palette for a new breed of Gen A "Cyborg" artists.

Mainstream Cam Life Circa 2025

The below Cam Life scenario exemplifies the pernicious "new normal" for the mainstream and a new palette for Gen A artists.

So somewhere in the world a woman is taking off her makeup off before bedtime while her husband lays in bed expectantly. She shares her makeup mirror with twenty other woman who at this exact same moment are taking off exactly the same makeup as she using exactly the same removal product. They are consenting hive-minded adult woman of roughly the same age and marital status (married between 5 and 8 years), 1 to 3 children, lower middle class income and lifestyles.

One of the woman in the mirror has been contacted by an agent of the OSS and asked to casually mention her OSS connection to the “at risk” woman in the group (for the mention the OSS the woman gets a few registry credits toward a new skin repair product, and if the suggestion is translated into a case “sale” than she usually gets a five fold increase in her commission). It is customary and generally understood that anyone at anytime can suggest and receive payment for services – telling the target subject that they are being “sold to” is usually at the discretion of the seller. So in this case in order to take business away from The NBC the OSS is offering double rewards for “suggestions” to target at risk woman and quadruple rewards for conversion to an actual case sale.

Proposal for Wired City, Josh Harris' internet television station

Since only Arnie and the OSS know that there is a 76% likelihood that the husband waiting in bed will beat his wife within the next two weeks, it is a very artful and delicate task to suggest OSS case services without the wife figuring out in advance why she will need them (The Minority Report Statute notwithstanding, Arnie knows that if she finds out about her future beating the chances of her needing his services are substantially reduced – plainly stated it is bad for business). So it is critically important for the OSS to have a complete dossier on all the people in the makeup mirror at that particular moment in time so that it can be washed though a sequence of probability analyzers to determine the most effective method for selling the target while staying comfortably within safety tolerances (that buffer the target's ability to deduce the statistically preordained future).

All of the above is not exactly a commodity purchased off-the-shelf but each of the majors (NBC, AEN, OSS, KON, etc.) have their own unique but very similar methodologies for harvesting new cases. What separates them is the art. It is easy and intuitive to presume that hive-mindedness equates to homogeneity – all sociologically matched groups behave the same. But in fact there is dynamism in how groups of people work and react amongst each other. So maybe Arnie catalyzes a predicted husband's violence by creating suggestions in his morning “shaving mirror” that move him to aggression a little faster or slower than would have happened if he had left their lives alone. Or maybe the other woman in her makeup mirror platform are selling life insurance so Arnie's OSS will wash this influence through the cloud to find past instances where this has occurred and then source out the appropriate person to “randomly” show up in the woman's makeup mirror (who happens to best optimize the odds of getting the case). And on and on. The subtitles and magician's touch are for the very gifted and Arnie is among the best of the very gifted.

Now the insidiousness of it all is that fact that the target woman – who is removing her makeup and being guided toward hiring the OSS to handle a future episode of violence by her husband (that only the OSS knows about) – is also very likely doing the very same thing in another walk of life (e.g. selling life insurance).

Welcome to the age of hive-mindedness

The Money

Old line secondary art valuations should hold steady or increase until the algorithmic cloud evolves in and humankind evolves out (+/- 15 years). Once humankind evolves out contemporary art conceived and designed for the cloud will valuate substantially.

Josh "Luvvy" Harris is a featured artist at the Museum of Sex's "Cam Life" exhibition in New York City (running through May, 2020) WM


Josh Harris

Josh Harris (born c. 1960) is an American internet entrepreneur and artist. He was the founder of JupiterResearch and Pseudo.com, a live audio and video webcasting website founded in 1993.

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