Interview: John Craig Freeman, TimeOut Singapore

By Gwen Pew

This article was translated to French language by Natalie Harmann.

In Window Zoos & Views – an exhibition of augmented reality public artwork that’s part of Digital Art Weeks in May – John Craig Freeman uses technology to remind us of the horrible past and warn us of the earth’s scary future. Gwen Pew talks to the Boston-based artist.


Flotsam & Jetsam, by John Craig Freeman, augmented reality public art, Singapore, 2013.

Window Zoos & Views is an exhibition of augmented reality public artwork that’s part of Digital Art Weeks, an event founded in Zurich, Switzerland, six years ago and debuting in Singapore for the first time. One of the featured artists is Boston-based John Craig Freeman, 54, who has participated in three other DAW, and is showing two works. One of them, ‘Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands’, displays black-and-white footages of historic mass uprisings, in the most unlikely venue: Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park. The other one, ‘Flotsam & Jetsam’, gives us a peek into the future when the sea level rises due to global warming: hover your tablet or phone at precise GPS coordinates along the entire length of Orchard Road or from Hill Street to Outram Park Station, and you will see shipping containers, boat wrecks, driftwood and plastic refuse superimposed over the terrain.

Read more.

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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