Artist Interview: ​Brain Sensing and Augmented Reality

Desi Gonzalez, Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, MIT
LACMA Unframed, Art + Technology
December 3, 2014


Desi Gonzalez is a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Her dissertation research includes investigating art and technology programs in museums, among them, our Art + Technology Lab. Recently, she talked to artist John Craig Freeman, one of the Art + Technology Lab grant recipients. Freeman is working on a project called EEG AR: Things We Have Lost. The acronyms in the title refer to two technologies the artist has been experimenting with: electroencephalography—or brainwave sensing—and augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated imagery onto the real world. Desi and John Craig sat down to discuss his project, its origins, and the use of public space as a site for technology-based art. Read the interview.

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14th & AR, New York City

AiOP_FREE_LogoArt in Odd Places
October 9th – 12th, 2014
14th Street between Union
Square and 9th Avenue
New York City


There are particular locations around the world where network activity has become so intense that the virtual world has begun to penetrate into the real. 14th & AR in New York City is one of the most active of these sites. Artist John Craig Freeman has developed a software application for mobile devices that allows the general public to detect and view this phenomenon.

Theorist and science fiction authors have predicted for years, that the virtual world would one day begin to merge with the real. Bits and bytes will leak into and mingle freely with atoms and molecules.

Like the subterranean watershed, virtual dimensions courses through the cityscape in rivers of fiber optic flows, just below the surface, often indictable with the naked eye. 14th & AR converts the users phone into a divining rod of sorts, allowing netzens to dowse for alternative realms of awareness. Dig deep enough and virtual reality leaks into the physical world unabated, a fountainhead the hyper-real.

Objects appear to replicate and float off into the sky. Entire buildings lose their mooring and drift away. Reality itself becomes unstable and fleeting at the intersection of 14th & AR.


Please see the 14th & AR, New York City project website for more.

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The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations

Jessica Auchter, The Politics of Haunting and Memory in International Relations, Routledge, New York and London, 2014. p. 104.


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Artists Reclaim the Commons

Becky Huff Hunter, “Philadelphia Social Art,” in Artists Reclaim the Commons: New Works / New Territories / New Publics edited by Glenn Harper and Twylene Moyer, ISC Press, Hamilton, NJ, 2013, pp. 268–274.


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Announcing LACMA’ s Art + Technology Lab Artist Grant Awards


Last December, LACMA announced the new Art + Technology program and issued the first call for proposals. By the end of January, they had received more than 450 proposals from artists, architects, designers, and developers from all over the world, involving everything from drones and data visualization to rockets, robotics, sonification, and sensors. LACMA curators, staff, and Art + Technology advisory board members reviewed them, looking for projects that are experimental and address issues at the intersection of culture and technology, provide opportunities for public engagement, and produce data, methods of models that might be of interest to other artists and technology developers.


Photogrammetry avatar at Hollywood and Vine, August 14th, 2014.

John Craig Freeman will draw on crowdsourcing, augmented reality, and EEG (electroencephalography) technology in a project titled EEG AR: Things We Have Lost. The artist will interview people on the streets of Los Angeles about things, tangible or intangible, that they have lost, creating a database of lost objects. A later performance at LACMA will allow participants to “conjure” virtual objects using brainwave technology and augmented reality. Freeman is a founding member of the collective Manifest.AR, whose work seeks to expand the notion of public space by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place.

Project website.

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EEG AR: Things We Have Lost, Basel

John Craig Freeman, with Lena Jermann
Virtuale Switzerland, Basel
Exhibition: 19 June 2014 to 28 September 2014
Opening: 4 to 7 pm, Thursday 19 June 201

EEG AR: Things We Have Lost allows participants to conjure up virtual objects by simply imagining them into existence. A database of objects based on the broad theme of “Things We Have Lost,” which includes things such as pensions, empires and dodo birds, has been generated by asking the people of Basel what they have lost.


The project consists of a city-wide public art installation viewable on smartphones and other mobile devices.

For more information and instructions please see the project website and for documentation, please see the photo stream.

Virtuelle Realität: Basel verwandelt sich in ein futuristisches Blumenmeer Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, June 16, 2014.

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AR[t] magazine, Augmented Reality, Art and Technology

Issue 5, May, 2014


The fifth issue of AR[t] magazine is available online or it can be downloaded. In this issue, the magazine looks at AR from various perspectives, however, the articles do have a common denominator: the future of Augmented Reality. Please see Site Venice Site Biennale: The Manifest.AR Augmented Reality Intervention into the 2011 Venice Biennial, by Tamiko Thiel, pp. 56 – 63.

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