Hal Niedzviecki lives in public in new CBC doc
Hal Niedzviecki, the Toronto-based author of The Peep Diaries (published last month by the San Francisco-based City Light Publishers), is taking his research into “peep culture” a step further by immersing himself in the world of reality TV. As part of an upcoming CBC TV documentary film entitled Peep Me, Niedzviecki is putting his own life on display during a 30-day live webcast from his home.
The sociological experiment kicks off on July 17, when cameras in Niedzviecki’s living room, kitchen, bedroom, office, and, yes, bathroom will begin recording the author as he goes about his day-to-day activities, which Niedzviecki admits are mostly mundane. “It’s me going about my life,” says Niedzviecki, “so the point isn’t necessarily to be thoroughly entertaining.” Of course, Niedzviecki still wants people to tune in, so he is planning a few “special events” that will take place each day, including cooking with Hal, story-hour with Hal, and music-time with Hal (when, in Niedzviecki’s words, “I play my guitar and sing really loudly and badly”).
The point of all this, according to Niedzviecki, isn’t only to experience the feeling of being put on display, but to see how the public reacts to “peep culture,” his term for the culture of voyeurism that compels people to reveal details about their private lives on social networking sites and reality TV.
As an added twist, viewers will be able to live-chat with Niedzviecki during the webcast, which can be viewed at ThePeepDiaries.com. Viewers can also observe the filmmakers during the filming and post-production of the documentary. “We felt that if we were going to look at this subject, we needed to adopt the medium,” says the film’s director, Sally Blake.
This isn’t the first time The Peep Diaries has nabbed some high-profile attention. Last month, O, The Oprah Magazine, named the book one of 25 must-read summer books. Peep Me will air on CBC TV in 2010.