Mixed Realities

Mixed Realities is an exhibition and symposium that explores the convergence — through cyberspace — of real and synthetic places made possible by computers and networks. Mixed Realities links and overlays the Huret & Spector Gallery (Boston), Turbulence.org, and Ars Virtua (Second Life).

Avatar JC Fremont wearing a live webcam mask with artist John Craig Freeman at the controls.

Second Life is a shared, synthetic, 3-D environment through which people can interact in real-time by means of a virtual self or avatar. Although it’s an imaginary place, it is often able to “masquerade as real” (Richard Bartle) because it approximates reality persuasively enough to facilitate player immersion.

Audience members — who will be embodied as avatars in Second Life, browsing the works atturbulence.org, and/or be physically present in the gallery — will interact with the works and with one another. Thus, Mixed Realities will enable people who are distributed across multiple physical and virtual spaces to communicate with one another and share experiences in real time.

Five works were commissioned by New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. specifically for theMixed Realities exhibition. Collectively, they combine sensor, video, sound, streaming, webcam, projection, processing, world wide web, and 3-D technologies to produce immersive, interactive and participatory performances and installations. They allow audiences to experience real and fictional places simultaneously in Imaging Beijing and The Vitruvian World; debate the value of virtual labor and currency in No Matter; communicate physical data from multiple sources throughRemote; and question mediated communication itself in Caterwaul.

The competition was juried by Yasmine Abbas, Founder, Neo-NomadMichael Frumin, Technical Director Emeritus, EyebeamJames Morgan, Director, Ars VirtuaTrebor Scholz, Founder,Institute for Distributed Creativity; and Helen Thorington, Co-Director, TurbulenceBios >>

Audience member exploring the Imaging Beijing virtual world in its interactive installation form at the Mixed Realities exhibition.

Avatar JC Fremont (aka. John Craig Freeman), in the Imaging Beijing SL online virtual world, delivering an artists talk at the opening reception of the Mixed Realities exhibition.

Here is a link to some images and here is a link to the “Imaging Beijing” project.

About John Craig Freeman

John Craig Freeman is a public artist with over twenty years 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. His work seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place. Freeman is a founding member of the international artists collective Manifest.AR and he has produced work and exhibited around the world including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, FACT Liverpool, Kunsthallen Nikolaj Copenhagen, Triennale di Milano, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing, He has had work commissioned by the ZERO1, Rhizome.org and Turbulence.org. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, El Pais, Liberation, Wired News, Artforum, Ten-8, Z Magazine, Afterimage, Photo Metro, New Art Examiner, Time, Harper's and Der Spiegel. Christiane Paul cites Freeman's work in her book Digital Art, as does Lucy Lippard in the Lure of the Local, and Margot Lovejoy in Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age. His writing has been published in Rhizomes, Leonardo, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Exposure. Freeman received a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1986 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990. He is currently a Professor of New Media at Emerson College in Boston. Freeman writes, “If Andy Warhol set out to create a distinctly American art form in the twentieth century, I identify with those who seek to create a distinctly global art form in the twenty-first.”
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