Flotsam & Jetsam, Hong Kong

John Craig Freeman

An exhibition of augmented reality public art produced in association with The Virtuale Exhibition, Digital Art Weeks @ SIGGRAPH Asia 2013.

November 20–22, 2013.


Flotsam & Jetsam is a virtual meta-commentary on global warming, expected sea level rise and the spread of plastic debris field gyres.

Flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo. Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposefully cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore by the Coriolis Effect; planetary vortices along with horizontal and vertical friction.

Marking the contour of the expected sea level fifty years from now, Flotsam & Jetsam is a clarion call for the denizens of the world to take seriously the science of climate change and other abuses to the global environment by envisioning the debris left by storm surge and other manifestations of the incoming tide.

Built for smart phone mobile devices, the public can simply download and launch the mobile app and aim their devices’ cameras in the streets of Hong Kong. The application uses geolocation software to superimpose shipping containers, boat wrecks, driftwood and plastic refuse at precise GPS coordinates, enabling the user to see the virtual objects integrated into the physical location as if they existed in the real world.


  • To view the work on location in Hong Kong, using any late model iPad, iPhone or Android, download the free Layar Augmented Reality Browser (http://layar.com) and scan this code.


Flotsam & Jetsam, Singapore, 2013.

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