Pseudo’s Surveillance Palace

Happy New Year, Pod People!

Harris and his open checkbook do seem to have gathered a sort of cult appeal. "He's the Michael Jackson of Silicon Alley; what he's doing here is creating a Neverland," says David Leslie, performance art curator at P.S. 122. "This is outrageous, more expansive and ambitious than anything I've been involved in. It is a great gift to the city and artists he's pulled together."

Even prominent Soho gallerist Jeffrey Deitch is a convert: "With this kind of project there's really no definition of what constitutes pulling it off and what's not pulling it off, and that's what's interesting. Josh is creating something, he's got fresh energy. There is bound to be art in this show I find dismissible, there will be things that offend me. But there will be extraordinary things in this show that you couldn't find anywhere else." (Outsiders will be able to view the show—though they will be required to don white zip-up zoot suits for their visit.)

Wired, monitored, and encapsulated at Pseudo’s Millennial complex
photo: Michael Sofronski
Wired, monitored, and encapsulated at Pseudo’s Millennial complex

Sure, the whole project is an exercise in megalomania ("My main competitor in town is Puffy," says Harris), but it may be the perfect embodiment of the state of things right now: Here's a guy who has made a huge amount of money off a company that is considered by some to have an amateurish product. Somehow he's pulling it off. And here we are, like it or not, in a culture of reckless gluttony where people are starting up companies without any clue of how to generate a spreadsheet. But there's an electric feeling of privilege and pride. The hope is that, like the chaos of the new-media industry itself, there's a method to Harris's madness—and that his experiment with human lab rats can somehow explain it.

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