A Global Encyclopedia of Sorts

The Global Lives Project is well on its way to achieving its goal of filming a day-in-the-life of ten people whose diversity represents the world’s population (meaning the breakdown of those featured will include six Asians, two people who live on less than $2 a day, two Muslims, one Hindu, and three Christians, among others). I’m especially excited about the project’s web experience, which serves as an “online video library of human life experience.” It will feature live translations of the full 24-hour, high definition footage through a Creative Commons license when the shoots are completed in January 2009.

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Project founder David Evan Harris anticipates that a corresponding museum installation will run early next year and said that a few Japanese universities and a certain widely distributed global photography and travel magazine have expressed interest. The in-person exhibition will feature rooms with ten screens that each show what the subjects were doing at the same hour that the audience is looks at them. This technique for keeping 240 hours of film footage intact should also ensure that no two visitors’ experiences are the same, Harris said. 

The craziest part of the project? As much as 98 percent of the work on the four interviews conducted so far has been done by volunteers and much of the funding for the shoots, which can cost as much as $2,500 apiece, has been through in-kind contributions. There’s been more interest from independent filmmakers than there are opportunities to shoot at this point in the project.

“We want to create the real time experience of stepping out of your own life and into someone else’s in another part of the world,” Harris said. “What Wikipedia did for objectivity is what we’re looking to do for subjectivity.”

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