Virtua Obscura

“Imaging Place” was born of an attempt to apply the history and theory of photography to virtual reality. The project has roots stretching back to Mozi (470 BC to 390 BC), a Chinese philosopher credited with the discovery of the principles behind the pinhole camera which lead to the advent of the camera obscura by Iraqi scientist Abu Ali Al-Hasan (965-1039 AD) in Basra. Photography has always relied on the frame and the point of view. “Imaging Place” attempts to breakdown the frame, and the recipient determines the point of view, not the author. “Imaging Place” borrows from the traditions of documentary photography and filmmaking. However, it departs from those traditions by using nonlinear narrative structures and immersive tellepresence made possible by computer technologies and telecommunications networks. The result is still an image or representation, but now audience can enter, explore, have adventure in and ultimately participate in its making.

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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