The majority of Jonathan Harris’ work centers around the telling of stories by the people who experienced them, and validating our individual worth by leaving as large of a proverbial mark upon the world as we can. Sometimes recording the memories of a community, and sometimes looking deeply inward, Harris has created a large body of work that serves to explore both the inherent human desire to be public, and be private.
Inspired by the “I am the 99 percent” blog created in response to the initial Occupy Wall Street movement, Harris developed a website called Cowbird.com. Cowbird is based on the principal of “participatory journalism,” in which history is recorded by those experiencing it firsthand. Sign up for a free account, and you can immediately begin collecting images, videos, text, and audio to submit as your own multimedia diary entry, under the category of whichever major recent event you were personally affected by. Of course the Occupy Saga is a major topic, but everything from the Japanese earthquake to the Greek economic crisis – anything and everything that has touched human lives and helped shape our history – is addressed.
Cowbird seeks to build a “public library of human experience,” in hopes that future generations will be able to view history from the perpective of a fellow human being, and not just a history textbook. Harris continues to tell the story of the individual in order to help find their place in the whole.