La Lotería Aumentada

La Lotería Aumentada is included in La Lotería, an international exhibition that will feature work inspired by the Loteria Mexicana (Mexican Bingo) deck of cards. The exhibition will take place in September 10 – October 2, 2011 at Observatory, an arts and cultural space in New York City.

The opening reception is Saturday evening, September 10.

La Lotería is produced by Borderline Projects, the brainchild of writer and researcher Salvador Olguin. Borderline Projects was born out of the need to bring separate artistic projects together under one single name. It takes advantage of a network of collaborators, fellow artists, and cultural institutions in order to promote its events and reach larger audiences.

La Lotería Aumentada is an augmented reality public art project. Built for smart phone mobile devices, this project allows visitors to Observatory to see an entire deck of La Loteria cards floating and spinning in space throughout the gallery and spilling out into the surrounding neighborhood. The public can simply download and launch the project and aim their device’s cameras at the surrounding area. The application uses geolocation software to superimpose the cards at precise GPS coordinates, enabling public to see them integrated into the physical location as if they existed in the real world.


  1. Download any free code reader app to your iPhone or Android now.
  2. Stand at the corner of Union Street at Nevins Street in Brooklyn, NY.
  3. Press the scan button and aim at this code or enter in your phone’s web browser.
  4. If you don’t have the free Layar Augmented Reality Browser installed, you will be prompted to do so.
  5. Once Layar is installed, reading the code will launch the La Lotería Aumentada project in Layar.
  6. Aim the device’s camera towards the small dots in the mini-map in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Greg Ulmer on Divination

            The impoverishment of experience, the disenchantment of the world.  These phrases summarize the Arts and Letters assessment of the modern conditions produced by the industrial-bourgeois-scientific revolutions that reduced reality to instrumental utility.  One way to understand the arts revolution that began in bohemian Paris in the nineteenth century is as a project to retrieve and update the particular practice of pre-modern civilizations most responsible for enchanted experience:  the principle of correspondences, a mapping between the macrocosm and microcosm of events (as above, so below).  Baudelaire, the first modern artist, described the environment of the new industrial city as a forest of symbols (for which the code was lost). The avant-garde, when it salvaged epiphany from religion as the primary device of modernist expression, did for hermetic wisdom what Moorish Islam did for Greek philosophy during the middle ages:  preserve, translate, and update a deprecated or forgotten heritage.  Life in premodern civilizations was intelligible by means of wisdom, a systematic explanation of how reality works, backed by the authority of tradition.  The prototypes are China and Rome.  Decisions at every level of society, from official imperial programs to individual dilemmas, were guided by divination, augury, which is a cultural practice for delivering current knowledge of reality to individual decision-making situations. The device consists of using some chance technique (eg. flipping coins) to connect a situated dilemma with a codified archive of proven conduct.

Revolutionary modernity destroyed all traditional authority, while creating new conditions of reality driven by forces understood (if not necessarily controlled) only by specialized experts.  The void left by collapsed tradition was filled by a new institution—entertainment:  mass media popular culture promoting capitalist commercialism.  These are the conditions confronted by electracy, which is to digital technologies what literacy is to alphabetic writing.  Electracy takes up the challenge of inventing a new wisdom adequate to post-revolutionary conditions, by upgrading a practice of correspondences opening a dialogue between individual experience and global forces.  The wisdom is not readymade, but is generated on the fly, disclosing patterns and propensities in events.  It specializes in Benjamin’s dialectical image, able not only to glimpse but to hold and share the image of the past that flashes up at a moment of emergency. The formal operation is the MEmorial, in which individuals (updating augury), treat public policy problems as guides to personal dilemmas.  Public policy disasters (as in Paul Virilio’s Museum of Accidents) are a qualitative measure of threats to well-being. The raw material of expression is entertainment popular culture, which is to electracy what epics and mythology written in Greek were to philosophy (sources from which could be extracted a new mode of reasoning native to the new apparatus). The technological vehicle is augmented (mixed) reality, providing an interface that re-enchants everyday life with a new iconography for tagging and tracking collective decisions.  The ultimate goal is appiphany (collective consciousness-raising).

Documentation from exhibition:

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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