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A computer scientist, storyteller, and “internet anthropologist,” Jonathan Harris is known for his pioneering technique of documenting human emotions and behavior through the millions of artifacts (unfiltered content) he discovers and catalogues online. The co-creator of We Feel Fine, and the director of The Whale Hunt, I Love Your Work, among many others, his works have redefined documentary storytelling in the digital age.

Harris claims he is generally drawn to marginalized or misunderstood stories and communities. His work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, and has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), the CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), the Barbican Center (London), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), and The Pace Gallery (New York). Much of his art is in the form of interactive websites, such as his latest project Network Effect, which looks at how the Internet changes our behavior, our self-perception, and the way we view each other.

Harris studied computer science at Princeton University and spent a year in Italy at Fabrica. The winner of three Webby Awards, Print Magazine named him a “New Visual Artist,” and the World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader.”

Full Profile

    Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Harris′ work celebrates the world′s diversity even as it illustrates the universal concerns of its occupants. His computer programs scour the Internet for unfiltered content, which his beautiful interfaces then organize to create coherence from the chaos.

    His projects are both intensely personal (the “We Feel Fine” project, made with Sep Kanvar, which scans the world′s blogs to collect snapshots of the writers′ feelings) and entirely global (the new “Universe,” which turns current events into constellations of words). But their effect is the same — to show off a world that resonates with shared emotions, concerns, problems, triumphs and troubles.

    “Jonathan Harris [is] a New York artist and storyteller working primarily on the Internet. His work involves the exploration and understanding of humans, on a global scale, through the artifacts they leave behind on the Web.”
    -Edge.org


Jonathan Harris Speaker Videos Back to top

Jonathan Harris: TED Talk


Jonathan Harris explores the ancient act of self-expression and how its modern-day manifestation on the Internet in the form of blogs and social media is an opportunity to showcase that people have more in common than they realize. He describes how his computer programs surf the web passively observing how people document their lives and emotions online.

Harris displays the interactive visual maps of this data on a giant screen swarming with multi-colored dots. With a few movements of the cursor, he shares a few of his favorite montages of thoughts that his program has captured from writers around the world: "I feel so much of my dad alive in me that there isn't even room for me." "I feel very lonely." "I need to be in some backwoods redneck town so that I can feel beautiful." "I feel invisible to you." "I wouldn't hide it if society didn't make me feel like I needed to."

Jonathan Harris: Different Ways of Looking


Jonathan Harris: Rethinking Social Networking



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


An unconventional storyteller, Jonathan Harris combines artistry and cutting edge technology to explore human emotions via the web as well as the web’s effect on human emotions. Throughout interactive visuals and an engaging narrative, he presents groundbreaking discoveries collected by his innovative computer programs and boundless vision. The recipient of three Webby Awards, Harris is an excellent choice for events centered on technology, social media, and the creative visual arts.

Examples of Past Speaking Topics:

  • Creating New Media Technology in the Service of Storytelling
  • Virtually You
  • The Web′s Secret Stories
  • What It Means to Be Human


Jonathan Harris Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    "Astonishing and brilliant."
    New York Magazine

    "A mesmerizing visual experiment."
    Reuters

    "Stunningly gorgeous."
    The Washington Post

    "Renaissance man for the information age."
    New York Arts Magazine

    "So incredible... it almost brings me to tears."
    Eye Magazine

    "A fascinating combination of art, science, culture, and current affairs."
    USA Today

    "Sweetly sad-yet-hopeful... touching, and tragic, and a lot about design, and art, and how those two mitigate loneliness, create connection, and influence our lives."
    Wallpaper

    "If you believe that the Internet is a cultural revolution on the level of modern capitalism, the nuclear age, or even the age of reason, then think of Harris as struggling to create its Impressionism, its Abstract Expressionism, or its neoclassicism—struggling, in other words, to develop a new artistic language for a new human condition. And undoubtedly for a new generation. We Feel Fine—together with a handful of Harris’s other works—defines a profound new kind of information design: whittling down the world’s 70 million Web sites and blogs into a framed image of humanity. And it does it live, continuously, and autonomously... constantly changing artistic responses to a constantly changing world."
    Metropolis

    "The result is a new way to engage with images and information. But for all of Harris’s high design and technological guile, the real achievement may be much simpler... he has reinvigorated interest in one of our basic cultural building blocks: a good story, well told."
    Good Magazine

    "What won’t change in the future is the search for love, though how we search will evolve... Present or future, may all our digital soul exchanges occur in such an uplifting medium."
    The New York Times

    "Compelling, engrossing, informative, entertaining, beautiful... an unqualified success."
    Buzzmachine




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    "Astonishing and brilliant."
    New York Magazine

    "A mesmerizing visual experiment."
    Reuters

    "Stunningly gorgeous."
    The Washington Post

    "Renaissance man for the information age."
    New York Arts Magazine

    "So incredible... it almost brings me to tears."
    Eye Magazine

    "A fascinating combination of art, science, culture, and current affairs."
    USA Today

    "Sweetly sad-yet-hopeful... touching, and tragic, and a lot about design, and art, and how those two mitigate loneliness, create connection, and influence our lives."
    Wallpaper

    "If you believe that the Internet is a cultural revolution on the level of modern capitalism, the nuclear age, or even the age of reason, then think of Harris as struggling to create its Impressionism, its Abstract Expressionism, or its neoclassicism—struggling, in other words, to develop a new artistic language for a new human condition. And undoubtedly for a new generation. We Feel Fine—together with a handful of Harris’s other works—defines a profound new kind of information design: whittling down the world’s 70 million Web sites and blogs into a framed image of humanity. And it does it live, continuously, and autonomously... constantly changing artistic responses to a constantly changing world."
    Metropolis

    "The result is a new way to engage with images and information. But for all of Harris’s high design and technological guile, the real achievement may be much simpler... he has reinvigorated interest in one of our basic cultural building blocks: a good story, well told."
    Good Magazine

    "What won’t change in the future is the search for love, though how we search will evolve... Present or future, may all our digital soul exchanges occur in such an uplifting medium."
    The New York Times

    "Compelling, engrossing, informative, entertaining, beautiful... an unqualified success."
    Buzzmachine


    We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion
    In this dazzling exploration of contemporary human feelings, digital whiz kids Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris use their computer programs to peer into the inner lives of millions, constructing a vast and deep portrait of our collective emotional landscape.

    Armed with custom software that scours the English-speaking world′s new Internet blog posts every minute, hunting down the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling," the authors have collected over 12 million feelings since 2005, amassing an ever-growing database of human emotion that adds more than 10,000 new feelings a day.

    Drawing from this massive real-world stockpile of found sentiment, We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion presents the best of the best — the euphoria, the despair, the passion, the dreams, and the desires that make us human. At turns touching and thought-provoking, humorous and heartbreaking, We Feel Fine combines the words and pictures of total strangers to explore every corner of the human experience.

    Packed with personal photos, scientific observations, statistical infographics, and countless candid vignettes from ordinary people, We Feel Fine is a visual, fiercely intelligent, endlessly engrossing crash course in the secrets of human emotion. Are men or women happier? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? Is beauty the bridge between happiness and negativity? How do our emotions change as we age? What causes depression? What′s sexy? What′s normal? What′s human?

    We Feel Fine finally provides a way to answer these questions that is both quantitative and anecdotal, putting individual stories into a larger context and showing the stories behind the statistics — or asthe authors like to say, "bringing life to statistics and statistics to life."

    With lush, colorful spreads devoted to 50 feelings, 13 cities, 10 topics, 6 holidays, 5 age groups, 4 weather conditions, and 2 genders, We Feel Fine explores our emotions from every angle, providing insights into and examples of each. Equal parts pop culture and psychology, computer science and conceptual art, sociology and storytelling, We Feel Fine is no ordinary book — with thousands of authors from all over the world sharing their uncensored emotions, it is a radical experiment in mass authorship, merging the online and offline worlds to create an indispensable handbook for anyone interested in what it′s like to be human.
    Order Here





Examples of Past Speaking Topics:

  • Creating New Media Technology in the Service of Storytelling
  • Virtually You
  • The Web′s Secret Stories
  • What It Means to Be Human


Jonathan Harris: TED Talk


Jonathan Harris explores the ancient act of self-expression and how its modern-day manifestation on the Internet in the form of blogs and social media is an opportunity to showcase that people have more in common than they realize. He describes how his computer programs surf the web passively observing how people document their lives and emotions online.

Harris displays the interactive visual maps of this data on a giant screen swarming with multi-colored dots. With a few movements of the cursor, he shares a few of his favorite montages of thoughts that his program has captured from writers around the world: "I feel so much of my dad alive in me that there isn't even room for me." "I feel very lonely." "I need to be in some backwoods redneck town so that I can feel beautiful." "I feel invisible to you." "I wouldn't hide it if society didn't make me feel like I needed to."

Jonathan Harris: Different Ways of Looking


Jonathan Harris: Rethinking Social Networking