Preserving Augmented Reality

Yesterday Jon Ippolito wrote ManifestAR regarding a book he is working on with Rick Rinehart, about the preservation of digital and performative culture called New Media and Social Memory. He asked the group if we had any thoughts about preserving Augmented Reality works.

One thought that comes to mind regarding his query, is that AR art practices represent a new and different form, and come with unique measures of ephemerality. I am thinking here of Allan Kaprow coining the term “Happening” in the late 1950s and 1960s. “Performance Art” fell short of adequately describing what it was they were trying to do. “Lick Jam” was both site specific, (you had to be there) and ephemeral (here today gone tomorrow). This is not to say that AR works of art are more like happenings than sculpture, rather they differ from both. It is not an exhibition or a performance. This is probably the significance of the term “Intervention.”

I always regard the making of networked art of any kind to be a bit akin to a message in a bottle being cast into a virtual sea. Long after Layar goes belly-up, smart phones are replaced by smart implants and Google’s Super Cell project replicates and uploads every piece of code ever written, some cyber-archiologist will dig up the remains of an archaic .L3D file two meters below low-tide in the Piazza San Marco and simply run a battery of neuro-emulation test to recover an old dilapidated shanty.

Also, ManifestAR was founded to chalenge the institutions of high culture, including the art market. The ephemerality of the work supports this claim.


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, and 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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