Facing Rocky Flats

 

Canyon Gallery
9th Street and Canyon Boulevard, Canyon Blvd, Boulder, CO 80302
April 27 – June 10

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Reproduction of one of eleven 10’ x 40’ billboard images from the 1990 interventionist public art project Operation Greenrun II, John Craig Freeman, 10′ x 40′ mosaic laser prints on coated fluorescent paper. Photo Mark Freeman.

Curated by Jeff Gipe, “Facing Rocky Flats” precedes the planned public opening of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. This group exhibition uses art and oral history to explore the past, present, and future of this contentious site.

From 1951 to 1989, Rocky Flats produced the plutonium “pits” (or fissile cores) for every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. During that time, the plant was alternately revered as a patriotic enterprise that protected American freedom, reviled as the most destructive bomb factory in human history, and denounced as a secretive polluter that spread deadly radiation across Denver’s suburbs. Equally heated debates have broken out over Rocky Flats’ demolition (1995-2005) and the ongoing efforts to keep its residual contamination from spreading.

Today the former bomb plant is invisible to the eye, yet its radioactive remnants will outlast the half-life of plutonium – 24,110 years. The legacy of Rocky Flats is still in its infancy. “Facing Rocky Flats” surveys the first of what will be many generations of creative undertakings necessary to keep the site’s history and memory alive.

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Canyon Gallery, Bolder Colorado. Photo Mark Freeman, 2018.

John Craig Freeman is an artist with over two decades of experience using emergent technologies to produce large-scale public work at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. With his work, Freeman seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place.

In the late 1980s, Freeman moved to Colorado to pursue an MFA at the University of Colorado. Before he arrived, a group of environmentalists known as Citizens Against Billboards on Highway 93 had organized a successful boycott against a group of billboard that were lined up in a row, just outside the front gates of the Rocky Flats plant. The ads, located along one of the most scenic parts of the drive along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, were considered an eyesore. Plutonium contamination is, of course, invisible.

Unable to convince local businesses to advertise on the billboards, the owner was driven out of business and the billboard structures stood empty for several years. Freeman recognized the billboards potential for public art and began making proposals using early Macintosh desktop computing technology. After convincing the owner to loan the structures for the project, Greenpeace got wind of the project and offered to fund it.

Operation Greerun II, consisted of eleven 10′ x 40′ billboard faces, made of thousands of individual 8.5” x 11” bitmap laser prints per billboard.

Over about a mile, the text read “TODAY” “WE MADE” “A 250,000 YEAR” “COMMITMENT”. The half-life of of plutonium, the duration of time that it remains deadly, is a quarter of a million years.

The decision to shut down plutonium operations at Rocky Flats was quietly taken during the media firestorm that followed this project.

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Installation, Facing Rocky Flats. Photo Mark Freeman, 2018.
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Exploring an Augmented Reality

Ronni Gordon, The Take Magazine, November 18, 2017

New media artist John Craig Freeman uses augmented reality in public art projects to let us see two worlds at once.

hero-2It’s hard to escape the debate over the proposed border wall with Mexico, but, if you live in New England, difficult to envision the area where it would go. New media artist John Craig Freeman has brought the U.S.-Mexico border to Boston through a technique called augmented reality (AR), or digital information integrated into the world in real time. His project, Virtual U.S. Mexico Border, enables viewers to be in two different worlds simultaneously. Read the entire article.

 

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Screen City Biennial, Stavanger Norway

Virtual US/Mexico Border, augmented reality public art
Opening October 5th–8th, 2017, until October 31st.

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Curated by Tanya Toft and Daniela Arriado, Screen City Biennial is produced in partnership with the Stavanger Maritime Museum. The theme of the Biennial, Migrating Stories, reflects topics of migration and post-colonialism, new geographies and ecology, real and virtual voyages, storytelling and narratives traveling through time.

 

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John Craig Freeman, Portal to an Alternative Reality

Emerson Urban Arts, Media Art Gallery
Opening reception: Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 5:00-7:00 pm
Exhibit on view: September 21 – November 18, 2017
25 Avery Street, Boston, MA 02111
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Saturday 2:00-7:00 pm

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An installation of virtual reality and augmented reality projects by new media artist John Craig Freeman, Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, Boston.

John Craig Freeman, Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College works in emergent digital media to create virtual and alternative reality installations that address social and political issues of currency. With his work, Freeman examines sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals. He seeks to expand the notion of public art by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place. This exhibition features two of his recent subjects interpreted through three different projects: Chinatown Station with Service to Wuhan (2017); Virtual U.S./Mexico Border (2017); and Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos (2015).

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The Augmented Landscape

Produced by Boston Cyberarts, curated by George Fifield
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
May 27–November 30

The Augmented Landscape, an NEA funded augmented reality exhibit to be held by Boston Cyberarts at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, including work by John Craig Freeman, Kristin Lucas, Will Pappenheimer and Tamiko Thiel, will open to the public on Saturday, May 27, and remain on view through November 30, 2017.

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Virtual Russia and Virtual China, geo-located augmented reality public art by John Craig Freeman, uses the historic Salem Custom House as a metaphoric portal, transporting users to two alternative realities created by the artist on location in the cities of Wuhan in Central China and Saint Petersburg Russia last year. The project is meant to evoke the history and contemporary manifestations of globalization, international trade and revolution.

Instructions: To view the augmented reality work on location at Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts with any late model iPhone, iPad or Android, install the free Layar augmented reality browser app, http://layar.com, and then search Geo Layers for ‘salem art’ or scan these codes.

Virtual Russia, Saint Petersburg

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Virtual China, Wuhan

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Please see:

A question of attitude. Art, Museums and the Digital / The Arts +, Anika Meier, November 2, 2017.

Augmenting the landscape in Salem, Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe, July 27, 2017.

What’s New – Augmented Reality, Chronicle, WCVB, Jul 20, 2017.

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Everywhere but Nowhere

District Gallery

May 6, 2017 – May 20, 2017

Artist Reception: Sat May 6 @ 7pm
701 E 3rd Street | DTLA
Gallery Hours Wed – Sun 2pm to 7pm
After Hours Appointments email info [at] districtgallery.com

Everywhere but Nowhere, Featuring Augmented Reality Art by
John Craig Freeman, Zenka, Mike French, Lucas Kazanksy, Kevin Mack

Artists employ the techniques and technology of augmented and virtual reality to create interactive works that go beyond the walls of the gallery. The works help us to explore our physical and social environments with vivid, immersive experiences that explode traditional notions of how art is perceived.

Augmented Reality Art Vortex by John Craig Freeman

AR Vortex, acts as an access point where the public can immerse themselves in augmented reality experiences. Not long after its founding in Paris in 1957, the Situationist International developed the idea of the dérive, a kind of open passage walk, or drift. Participants were encouraged to ignore the normal traffic flows and circulations of planned urban developments and instead, moved through a city in a way that followed its moods. The goal was to track the cities emotions, the feeling and atmosphere of a place, to find what they called the plateau tourné, a vortex where forces come together to create strong atmosphere. The public art installation can be seen at the intersection of East 3rd Street, Traction Avenue and Rose Street and throughout DTLA. Viewing Instructions.

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Install the free Aurasma Augmented Reality App on your smartphone or tablet. Search JohnCraigFreeman and choose ‘Follow’

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Install the free Aurasma Augmented Reality App on your smartphone or tablet. Search JohnCraigFreeman and choose ‘Follow’

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AR Vortex #1 and #2, 60in x 33in archival inkjet print, 2017.

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Paseo Portal, Securing the Virtual Border

A virtual public artwork by John Craig Freeman San José, CA, April 7th–8th, 2017

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Produced for exhibition on behalf of ZERO1, in the Paseo de San Antonio Plaza in front of the Hammer Theatre Center in downtown San José, CA during the Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge, Paseo Portal, Securing the Virtual Border acts as an access point where the public can immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences documenting gentrification, the housing shortage, and working class flight in the Bay Area generally, and homelessness, displacement and migration globally.

Instructions: To view the augmented reality work on location in the Paseo de San Antonio Plaza in front of the Hammer Theatre Center in downtown San José, CA, with any late model iPhone, iPad or Android, Install the free Layar augmented reality browser app, http://layar.com and search Geo Layers for ‘Paseo Portal’ or scan this code.

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The dispossessed are all around us. Now, with the use of Silicon Valley’s most cutting edge virtual and augmented technology, anyone can see this new reality.

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