7. Evidence of scholarly/creative/professional engagement (e.g. publications, conference papers, lectures, colloquia, internal and external grants, special awards and honors, works performed, produced, or exhibited, reviews).
No Need For The Real? Triennale di Milano
Originally commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands” has been exhibited across Europe. From September 2nd to the 16th, 2012, the project exhibited as part of the No Need For The Real? exhibition at Triennale di Milano.
The exhibition takes a multidisciplinary approach to presenting virtual artworks in real space to explore and confront the complexity of attempting to divine what will come next in terms of “real” versus “virtual”.
Established in 1923 as the first Biennial of Decorative Arts, La Triennale di Milano, the premier design museum Italy, has been located since 1933 in Milan in the Palazzo dell’Arte, designed by Giovanni Muzio.
Conversations, Copenhagen Art Festival, Kunsthallen Nikolaj
From August 24th to October 21st, 2012, “Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands” exhibited as part of the Conversations exhibition at Kunsthallen Nikolaj (Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center) during the Copenhagen Art Festival.
Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, is located in the former Nikolaj Church at Nikolaj Plads in the centre of Copenhagen and functions as the city’s exhibition space for contemporary art.
The Copenhagen Art Festival will open 24th. August 2012 with an event-packed program until 2nd. September. The exhibitions will continue throughout the autumn. The festival is one of the major presentations of international contemporary art in the region.
FACT, ARTsENSE Commission
“EEG AR: Things We Have Lost,” by John Craig Freeman and Scott Kildall, will allow participants to conjure up virtual objects by simply imagining them into existence using brainwave sensor technology. We will generate a database of objects based on the broad theme of “Things We Have Lost,” which includes things such as pensions, empires and dodo birds. We will outfit test subjects with EEG-reading brainwave sensors and ask them to think deeply about what he or she has lost. Once our software detects a measurable and consistent pattern, it will issue a database call to instantiate a virtual object using augmented reality technology. The virtual object will then appear in front of the participant, viewable on any iPhone or Android device. As part of the exhibition, we will take the test subjects into the city to see if it is possible to create and place virtual objects just by thinking them into existence. These virtual objects will remain at the location as trace reminders of the lab experience.
This project is being developed in collaboration with ManifestAR, an international artists’ collective working with emergent forms of augmented reality as interventionist public art.
The group was recently awarded the ARtSENSE Commission at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), in Liverpool.
FACT has been leading the UK video, film and new media arts scene for 20 years with groundbreaking exhibitions, education and research projects. The organization aims to pioneer new forms of artistic and social interaction with individuals and communities.
ARtSENSE is a European research project, working in collaboration with two other cultural organizations and five technical and research organizations, to develop wearable technology that aims to improve and augment the gallery and museum visitor experience. The technology will be discreetly embedded into eye glasses, with information beamed directly onto the retina of the wearer. The planned research will look at monitoring the physiological activity of the user, included eye-tracking, heart rate and skin conductivity to ascertain the “state” of the user (bored, excited, interested) and to then adapt the information sent to the user (textual, audio, video) accordingly.
This commission was awarded to ManifestAR in order to create significant new artworks that align with one of FACT’s current research interests looking at augmented visitor experience.
Our project, entitled “Inside Out,” will explore linking augmented virtual objects with audience response translated through compact wearable bio, audio, eye and brainwave sensing devices. We will create individual and collective works based on the theme; I think, I see, I speak, I feel- therefore it is. Our research will involve a year-long collaboration between ManifestAR artists, FACT and the ARtSENSE Consortium. The project will culminate in an exhibition, including “EEG AR: Things We Have Lost,” at FACT in the summer of 2013. ManifestAR will also explore and create work in the city of Liverpool, beyond the galleries at FACT.
2012 ZERO1 Biennial
ManifestAR has been commissioned by curators Richard Rinehart and Jaime Austin to create new work for the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, which will take place September 12 to December 8. The group proposes to establish an onsite installation for exhibition in San Jose, with parallel components at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. Titled “ManifestAR @ ZERO1,” the group will draw on collective art practices centered around mobile augmented reality apps that aggregate and map a series of works re-imagining and reinterpreting the high-tech corporate campuses and products of Silicon Valley. Performative and site-specific works will be created around the cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Lewisburg.
In developing individual projects for “ManifestAR @ ZERO1 Biennial,” group members have been asked to consider drawing connections, both implicitly and explicitly, between San Jose and Lewisburg.
In “From Lewisburg to Silicon Valley,” by John Craig Freeman and Lily & Honglei, the connection from Lewisburg to the high-tech corporate center of Silicon Valley can be traced in the migration of the worlds manufacturing on its never ending quest for the least expensive, least regulated labor force and the trail of economic devastation it leaves in its wake. Viewed through their own mobile device, the “From Lewisburg to Silicon Valley” augmented reality public art project asks the audience to consider their own implications in this global history.
“Chinese Take Out,” by 4Gentlemen
With locations at the Presidio overlook of the Golden Gate; the Powell Street cable car turntable at Market Street; the Gates of San Francisco’s Chinatown at Bush Street and Grand Avenue; and the Caltrain Diridon Station in San Jose, “Chinese Take Out,” by 4Gentlemen, visualizes the gruesome reality that the Chinese government has been systematically harvesting organs from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners for profit.
“American Plutocracy @ ZERO1,” marks the corporate headquarter of the highest paid CEO in Silicon Valley.
The ZERO1 Biennial, distributed throughout Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area, is North America’s most significant showcase of contemporary work at the nexus of art and technology. Established in 2006, the ZER01 Biennial has presented the work of over 500 artists from 50+ countries, commissioned 80 original works of art, attracted over 100,000 visitors from around the world, and contributed $20 million in economic revenue to the region. Under the thematic Seeking Silicon Valley the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial proposes that contemporary art practice can re-imagine the idea, the place, and the experience of Silicon Valley.
ManifestAR was one of only a handful of artists invited to preview work at the ZERO1 Biennial Press Preview Event in New York city on May 2, 2012 and ManifestAR was given top billing in the Press Release, along side of some of the most important artist working in digital art today, including Lynn Hershman and Raphael Lozano-Hemmer.
LACMA: Artists Respond
“Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands,” by John Craig Freeman has been commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Artists Respond program in response to the Russian Avant-Garde exhibition, April 7, 2012 to July 15, 2012.
The project is based of the work of Gustav Gustavovich Klucis, including his designs for Screen-radio Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands from 1922.
Klucis was a pioneering member of the Russian Constructivist avant-garde in the early 20th century. As Russian politics degenerated under the Stalin dictatorship in the 1920s and 30s, Klucis came under increasing pressure to devote his artwork to state propaganda. Despite his loyal service to the Communist Party, Klucis was arrested in Moscow on January 17, 1938. His whereabouts remained a mystery until 1989, when it was discovered that Stalin had executed him just after his arrest.
Each of the virtual Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands display a black and white animation from a contemporary mass uprising; Tank Man near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989; the assassination of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was gunned down in the streets of Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests; scenes from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 Arab Spring; and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street uprising. Each of these images are juxtaposed, in montage, with frames from the Odessa Steps scene of Sergei Eisenstein‘s historic Battleship Potemkin film. When touched, the virtual objects play sound from the uprising. The stands call up both the resurgence and nostalgia of current worldwide political idealism as they re-imagine the museum plaza in the function of the public square.
I have been asked to review submissions to the Papers/Posters Science and Technology track of the annual International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR), which will take place November 5th to the 8th 2012 in Atlanta.
Where To?, לאן?
In September 1825, Major Mordecai Noah founded Ararat, “a city of refuge for the Jews” in Grand Island, New York. This turned out to be just one of many failed projects and schemes in modern history that sought to carve out a nation for the Jewish people apart from British Palestine.
“Mapping Ararat,” by John Craig Freeman, Melissa Shiff and Louis Kaplan offers the user/participant the tools to imagine an alternative historical outcome for Noah’s Ararat and to navigate through an imaginary Jewish homeland.
Utilizing cutting-edge digital media technologies such as augmented reality and simulated cartography, this project gives Ararat a virtual chance to become the Jewish homeland that its founder had envisioned over one hundred eighty years ago. The finished project will consist of an interactive cartographic landscape set up in a 3D virtual world within a gallery installation as well as an on-site augmented reality walking tour that haunts the contemporary landscape of Grand Island. In addition, Mapping Ararat will generate the vernacular artifacts common to all modern nation-states whether money, postcards or newspapers.
The project was reviewed in “The Jewish Daily Forward.”
“Mapping Ararat” is made possible through a generous grant from the Insight Development Grant program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
In April of 2012,”Mapping Ararat” was included in the international invitational exhibition “Where To?” at the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon, Israel.
The exhibition deals with historical and contemporary lines of thought concerning the Jewish question. The exhibition returns to the history of Zionism, and through new artworks, asks to explore ideological currents developed and ultimately rejected within the Jewish question. This, while considering the Jewish existence at the present time and its problems.
The Israeli Center for Digital Art is a dynamic platform for thinking, researching, producing, presenting, and analyzing contemporary art, as well as providing a meeting point for exchange between contemporary artists, curators, critics and the public. The center has grown quite rapidly since it was established in 2001 in an abandoned school building in the industrial area of Holon.
“Mapping Ararat” was also recently the subject of a symposium titled “Reanimating Ararat: Two Perspectives on Mordecai Noah’s Jewish Homeland,” with Adam Rovner at the Jackman Humanities Center, University of Toronto, Canada.
On November 9, 2011, we presented “Mapping Ararat,” at “From Access to Integration,” an invitation-only conference and project of the Center for Jewish History in New York City. . The conference was convened by Stanley N. Katz, of Princeton University and Arthur Kiron, of the University of Pennsylvania, to formulate a new process for distributing and disseminating information about the Jewish experience.
Upgrade San Francisco
On March 29, 2012, I delivered a public lecture titled “Emergent Technology as Art Practice and Public Art as Intervention,” for Upgrade! San Francisco at SOMArts, followed by a two day workshop “Augmented Reality as Public Art.”
Upgrade! is an international network of autonomous nodes located throughout the world that are united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. Upgrade! San Francisco is a monthly speaker series and socializing event designed to foster community around new media arts in San Francisco.
I AM Crime: Art at the Edge of the Law
On March 9 through April 19, 2012, my work, as well as, work by 4Gentlemen, an anonymous international artists collective, was included in the international invitational group exhibition “I AM Crime: Art at the Edge of the Law,” at SOMArts in San Francisco.
“I Am Crime: Art on the Edge of Law” was an exhibition of more than 30 artists and collectives that challenge, question or circumvent the law through their work. Curated by Justin Hoover, “I Am Crime” touched on issues of equity—who gets to break the law, when, and why.
The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. Founded in 1979, SOMArts embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms.
From March 9th until the 31st, DéchARge de Rebut Toxique was included in the augmented reality public art exhibition “(Un)seen Sculptures,” in association with dLux MediaArts in Sydney Australia.
With locations at the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo and La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris and now in Sydney, “Décharge de Rebut Toxique” consists of sprawling virtual radiotoxic waste dumps at a time when the world is reconsidering its policies on nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
dLux MediaArts is one of Australia’s longest running screen arts organizations. From its inception as the Sydney Super 8 Group in 1982, through Sydney Intermedia Network in the 1990s, dLux MediaArts has been committed to supporting the development, engagement and experience of Australian screen and digital media culture. “(Un)seen Sculptures” feature works by Australian artists and international visitors from as far afield as the USA, China, Portugal, Germany, and the Netherlands.
On January 22nd through the 29th, 2012, ManifestAR was invited to exhibit work in “LA Re.Play,” an international juried mobile art exhibition headquartered at the Digital Media Art Gallery in the Broad Art Center at UCLA and extending citywide.
Mobilizing Los Angeles as a place to play and a place in play, “LA Re.Play” presents leading international artists working with mobile and geolocated media. The exhibit accompanies the double session presentation on “Mobile Art: The Aesthetics of Mobile Network Culture in Placemaking,” co-organized by Hana Iverson and Mimi Sheller for the College Arts Association 2012 conference, as well as an off-conference roundtable City/Space and Creative Measure, moderated by Jeremy Hight at the Art Center. Playing upon the dynamic relations between physical place, digital space, and mobile access via smart phone, we explore art that incorporates cell phones, GPS and other mobile technology, revealing the complex social, political, technological and physiological effects of new mixed reality interactions.
ManifestAR’s contribution was “ManifestAR @ LA Re.Play,” with dozens of projects across the city.
Highlights of my work in “ManifestAR @ LA Re.Play,” in addition to other projects, included “Monumento a las Mujeres Desaparecidas” and “Lotería Aumentada” at Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.
“Monumento a las Mujeres Desaparecidas,” by John Craig Freeman and Christina Marin is a monument to the missing women of Ciudad Juárez and the opium brides of Afghanistan.
Since 1993, hundreds of young women have been murdered and their bodies abandoned in vacant lots around Ciudad Juárez just over the border from El Paso. Many showed signs of sexual violence, torment, torture or in some cases disfigurement. Most of these women were migrant workers who traveled to Juárez from other parts of Mexico seeking employment at the nearby multinational maquiladoras. As Max Blumenthal wrote in his article for Solon “Day of the dead,” dated December 4, 2002, “Free-trade advocates once promised that NAFTA would transform Juarez into the City of the Future — and they have been proven right in a way they never could have imagined.” To this day, most of these murders remain unsolved and the perpetrators unpunished.
Unfortunately, there are no statistics about how many girls have been traded for debt incurred from opium eradication policies in Afghanistan, but journalists and NGOs like the International Organization for Migration have documented instances of such transactions taking place across the country. Traditionally, the Afghan society is patriarchal in its nature, and women often are considered the property of men. The practice of using women and girls for dispute settlements has been a part of the Afghan society for centuries. Drug smugglers loan poor Afghan farmers money to plant opium. When the government destroys the crop, as part of its opium eradication program, the farmers are still liable for the debt and are often forced to trade their daughters or face the threat of having the entire family murdered. The girls are then sold off as Opium Brides.
“La Lotería Aumentada,” by John Craig Freeman and Patricia Espinosa is inspired by La Loteria Mexicana, a game similar to bingo, which uses a deck of cards illustrated with figures that represent everyday objects. In “La Lotería Aumentada,” we transformed the tradition iconic images of La Lotería to reflect contemporary cross-border cultural and political concerns. La Mano, the hand, becomes El Secuestrado, the sequestered, with a missing pinky, a tactic used by drug cartels in kidnap ransoms.
Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street is arguably the oldest theme park in existence. With its foundations in Old Town Los Angeles, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, Olvera Street was converted to a festive Mexican marketplace in the 1930′s, a full two decades before the founding of Disneyland. For over eighty years, Olvera Street has provided a safer alternative border experience for tourists. It is perfectly plausible that Walt Disney‘s ideas of transporting people to imaginary places for amusement were formed in part during his visits to Olvera Street and nearby Chinatown. “Monumento a las Mujeres Desaparecidas” turns this border-themed virtual reality on its head by introducing very real contemporary border issues through augmented reality technology.
“LA Re.Play was reviewed in an article titled “Otra realidad es posible,” by Roberta Bosco and Stefano Caldana, in the Spanish language El Pais from Barcelona on February 22, 2012.
College Art Association 2012
On February 25th, 2012, during the College Art Association conference in Los Angeles, I made a presentation titled “ManifestAR: An Augmented Reality Manifesto,” as part of the “Mobile Art: The Aesthetics of Mobile Network Culture in Place Making,” session mentioned above. The chairs included Hana Iverson and Mimi Sheller. Other session members included Christiane Robbins, Martha Ladly, Jenny Marketou and Sarah Drury.
Browse my presentation, titled “ManifestAR: An Augmented Reality Manifesto” online.
Additionally, I served as Session Chair with Mary Tinti and presented during the CAA roundtable session “Public Art in the Virtual Sphere,” on February 23. Other session members included Christiane Paul and Ben Rubin.
Browse my presentation, titled “Emergent Technology as Art Practice and Public Art as Intervention,” online.
CRCA: Visiting Scholar
I spent most of the months of January and February 2012 in residence at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) at the University of California, San Diego as a Visiting Scholar conducting sabbatical research investigating to following research questions.
- What possibilities exist for the use of augmented reality as a public art form?
- Can augmented reality be used to invent new forms of monuments and memorials?
The Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) is an organized research unit of UCSD that facilitates the creation of vanguard culture via computer science research. Areas of current activity include: next generation digital media, multicore computing, experimental computer games, future cinema, networked multimedia, software studies, cultural visualization, science/art collaborations, virtual reality and computer-spatialized audio. CRCA is also the home of the UCSD branch of the NSF sponsored Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research.
As the University of California’s oldest arts research center, CRCA pursues speculative cultural activities that draw upon humanistic analysis, engineering innovation and the insights of artistic expression. Faculty members devise new modes of artistic practice through their liaisons with international cultural institutions, technology industries, and interdisciplinary collaborations. CRCA provides the framework for a broad range of approaches to artistic, scholarly, and technological development that is at the basis of our digitally transformed culture. We actively encourage the investigation of what constitutes the potent cultural acts of our time and the viable mechanisms that should be engaged to create them.
IS&T SPIE: The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality
On February 8, 2012, I delivered a paper titled “ManifestAR: An Augmented Reality Manifesto,” on behalf of ManifestAR, at the IS&T SPIE: The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality annual conference in San Francisco. The paper was part of the “VR Hybrids: Augmented Reality” session chaired by Todd Margolis. It was a variation of the presentation at CAA, cited above.
Miami Virtue and the Ulmer Tapes
Produced in collaboration with Greg Ulmer, myself, Barbara-Jo Revelle and William Tilson, “Miami Virtue and the Ulmer Tapes” is an eBook published by Small Cities Imprint, of the Community-University Research Alliance in British Columbia Canada, in 2012. It includes over 20 hours of video interviews I shot in 2001 of Greg Ulmer theorizing this important work and over 120 color photographs that Barbara-Jo took during our field research on the Miami River in 1997.
Download the “Miami Virtue and the Ulmer Tapes” eBook.
On November 4th, 2011, the “U.S./Iraq War Memorial,” by John Craig Freeman and Mark Skwarek, traveled to Works/San José, with the “iraqimemorial.org,” an international juried group exhibition. The work premiered at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City on September 9th, 2011. This show is expected to continue to travel.
The “U.S./Iraq War Memorial,” is an augmented reality public art project and memorial, dedicated to the thousands of individuals who have died on both sides of the conflict.
The locations of the augmentations are based on data published by The Guardian, from the Wikileaks Iraq war logs. The data points have then been offset based on the precise longitude and latitude difference between Baghdad and the Washington Mall in Washington D.C. This map indicates the location of the augmentation once the GPS offset has been applied.
Launched in November of 2007, iraqimemorial.org is an online and physical exhibition of memorial proposals and projects dedicated to the many thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the War in Iraq. Artists, designers, architects and other interested creative individuals or collaborators were invited to submit either proposed, imagined memorials or documentation of completed projects.
Works/San José is the south San Francisco bay’s community art and performance center. Founded in 1977 by local artists, Works is an all-volunteer, non-profit, alternative art and performance center dedicated to providing a venue for artists, ideas, and images that expand the scope of cultural and artistic experience and challenge the boundaries of contemporary art.
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (EFA) is dedicated to providing artists across all disciplines with space, tools and a cooperative forum for the development of individual practice. They are a catalyst for cultural growth, stimulating new interactions between artists, creative communities, and the public in New York.
ArtsEmerson, Paramount LED Public Art
On November 16, 2011, as part of the re-imagining of the Paramount Theatre, Emerson College created a three-story high, energy efficient LED installation designed to be viewed through the arched windows of the old Arcade building and seen from the street. Under the auspices of ArtsEmerson, Joseph D. Ketner II, The Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College, invited four artists to contribute works for the initial presentation: Jim Campbell, John Craig Freeman, Brian Knep, and Erwin Redl. The work was visible on the buildings’ three stories-high, seven windows. Each artist’s work was displayed in 15-minute blocks. The program ran nightly beginning 2 hours before sunset and ending at midnight.
My contribution “Paramount Watching,” consisted of a twenty minute video of a giant eye looking over Washington Street as the city goes about its business.
Andrew Doerfler, reviewed the ArtsEmerson, Paramount LED Public Art project on November 17, 2011, in his article “Windows of Opportunity,” in the Berkley Beacon.
The Art of a Placebo
On October 24th through November 15th, 2011, “The Art of a Placebo,” an international juried group exhibition opened at Open Space in Victoria Canada in association with the 2011 Digital Art Weeks.
The “Art of a Placebo” examined the strange case of effects without cause, and speculations that are curiously imagined into existence. The exhibition is premised on a proposition, a claim that has no guaranteed or verifiable meaning but which nevertheless attempts to provoke real engagement, both critical and imaginative. The exhibition is a placebo, a magical moment of artistic provocation, creating imaginary instances of creative and contemplative substance.
“I shall please,” ManifestAR’s contribution to the exhibition gets its name from the translation of the Latin word “placebo”, suggesting the willing complicity of a patient to imagine a cure. This empty control procedure might also be applied to various belief systems necessary for us to create what we understand as reality. Increasingly our intermediary existence between physical and virtual lives raises these questions about that which we have previously dismissed as purely ephemeral.
Founded in September 1972, Open Space is non-profit artist-run centre located in Victoria, British Columbia. For over thirty years, Open Space has supported professional artists who utilize hybrid and experimental approaches to media, art, music, and performance. As an exhibition and performance centre, Open Space reflects the wide diversity of contemporary art practices in Victoria, across Canada, and beyond. Our commitment to contemporary artists is an inclusive situation, embracing work by artists of different disciplines, media, generations, cultures, and communities.
Digital Art Weeks is concerned with the application of digital technology in the arts. Consisting of exhibitions, symposia, workshops and performances, the Digital Art Weeks program offers insight into current research and innovations in art and technology. Each year the Digital Art Weeks Festival seeks to make artists aware of impulses in technology and scientists aware of the possibilities of application of technology in the arts.
DUMBO Arts Festival
On October 23rd to the 25th, 2011, ManifestAR exhibited works derived from the “Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention,” discussed later in this document, at the “ManifestAR @ DUMBO Arts Festival” in Brooklyn New York.
“Water wARs” anticipates the flood of environmental refugees into the developed world caused by environmental degradation, global warming and the privatization of the world’s drinking water supply by multinational corporations like Bechtel.
Each year the DUMBO Arts Festival seeks to highlight Brooklyn’s commitment to and presence in the arts community by presenting the best in local, national, and international art amid the breathtaking backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. The festival attracts 200,000 visitors over 3 days with the participation of over 500 artists from a variety of disciplines, 100 studios, 50 galleries and stages and 100 programming partners.
On October 5th to the 25th, 2011, I exhibited a collection of most of the augmented reality work I had produced to that point at “Mediating Place,” an invitational group exhibition, at UMass Boston’s Harbor Art Gallery.
The exhibition sought to address issues of place in the environment, politics, the home, media and technology with work like Ben Bray’s periodic streaming video updates from his current expedition in the Arctic, John Craig Freeman’s (with Lily & Honglei, Mark Skwarek, Lalie S. Pascual, Caroline Bernard and 4Gentlemen) augmented reality installations famed for their politically-minded virtual exhibitions, Ann Torke’s residual accumulation sculptures from the home, and much more.
The “La Lotería Aumentada,” project was initiated in the fall of 2011, when the first version of the project was selected to be included in the exhibition “La Lotería,” from an international pool of entries. The exhibition tool place at Observatory in Brooklyn on September 10th until October 2.
“La Lotería Aumentada,” by John Craig Freeman, was inspired by La Loteria Mexicana. La Loteria is a game similar to Bingo. Instead of numbers, it uses a deck of cards illustrated with figures that represent everyday objects, plants, animals, mythical creatures and other characters. This project allowed 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.
Observatory is an art and events space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Founded in February 2009 and run by a group of seven artists and bloggers, the space seeks to present programming inspired by the 18th century notion of “rational amusement” and is especially interested in topics residing at the interstices of art and science, history and curiosity, magic and nature. The space hosts screenings, lectures, classes, and exhibitions, and is part of the Proteus Gowanus art complex.
During the opening reception of “La Lotería,” I met New York-based, Mexican painter Patricia Espinosa and went on to collaborate with her on a revision of the project using all original paintings created by Espinosa. The new version of “La Lotería Aumentada,” was exhibited in “La Re.Play,” discussed above.
On August 5th until the 27th of 2011, ManifestAR was invited to participate in “Distributed Collectives,” an international invitational group exhibition at little berlin in Philadelphia.
Curated by Kelani Nichole, the “Distributed Collectives” exhibition focused on the role of the Internet in art making. In addition to ManifestAR, the exhibition included the work of Computer Club and F.A.T.
little berlin is an artist-run collective and gallery space located in North Philadelphia. Founded in 2007, it became a collective organization in March 2009. The main focus is curatorial projects and exhibitions, music events, and performances.
Manifest.AR Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention
The 54th Venice Biennial could not justify its reputation without an uninvited augmented reality infiltration. In order to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed ManifestAR, constructed a series of virtual pavilions placed directly amongst the national pavilions in the Venice.
Biennial curator Bice Curiger wrote “La Biennale is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and ‘illumination’ about the current developments in international art. The title of the 54th Exhibition, ILLUMInations literally draws attention to the importance of such developments in a globalized world. I am particularly interested in the eagerness of many contemporary artists to establish an intense dialogue with the viewer, and to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed.”
The term “nations” in ILLUMInations applies metaphorically to recent developments in the arts all over the world, where overlapping groups form collectives of people representing a wide variety of smaller, more local activities and mentalities. In addition, I am in favor of a Biennale with the Pavilions, because they represent an extraordinary opportunity for dialogue among the artists. The Arsenale offers me an opportunity to bring together the works of artists who use the space as a medium through the creation of ‘para-Pavilions’.
Sometimes the Pavilions of the Biennale are considered anachronistic; on the contrary, they can be a tool to reflect upon the issue of identity. I wish to reinforce the sense of unity between the International Exhibition and the National Participations, by asking the artists from every country and the artists of ILLUMInations to answer 5 questions regarding this theme.
Where do you feel at home’?
Does the future speak English or another language?
Is the artistic community a nation?
How many nations do you feel inside yourself?
If art was a nation what would be written in its constitution?”
In accordance with the “ILLUMInations” theme and Curiger’s 5 questions our uninvited participation was not bound by nation-state borders; by physical boundaries; or by conventional art world structures. The virtual pavilions at the 54th Biennial reflected on a rapidly expanding and developing new realm of augmented reality art that radically crosses dimensional, physical and hierarchical boundaries.
The original version of “Water wARs,” consisted of a virtual pavilion for undocumented artists/squatters and water war refugees, and was exhibited as part of the “ManifestAR Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention,” in front of the main pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennial, International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations in Giardini, Venice.
“Water wARs” generated significant international press attention including Pau Waelder’s review “Venecia, en la brecha digital,” in art.es International Contemporary Art, London and Roberta Bosco’s, “La Bienal que emerge a través del móvil,” in El Pais, Barcelona. Domenico Quaranta wrote about it in “Venezia: la realtà aumentata”, for Flash Art. Anna Triboli blogged about it in “Outsiders,” from The Popup City, Amsterdam.
I was interviewed about it by Annalisa Masi in “Manifest.Ar: Futurismo in realtà aumentata, for The Buz Loft in Rome.
“ManifestAR Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention” also generated two simultaneous solo exhibitions shortly after the Biennial, “Not There,” curated by Lanfranco Aceti at the Kasa Galeri in Istanbul and “Not Here,” curated by Richard Rinehart at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
On October 18th, 2011, Will Pappenheimer and I gave an artist’s talk at Bucknell University about this project.
Augmented Reality Check: Seeing the Future Now
On April 26, 2011, I gave a public lecture presenting my work and the work of ManifestAR at an event titled “Augmented Reality Check: Seeing the Future Now,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the Philadelphia Science Festival.
Later that month Mimi Sheller, the moderator of “Augmented Reality Check,” gave keynote address titled “Mobile Art: Locating Mobile Network Cultures,” for the Net-Cultures: Mobility and Location in Social Networks conference at the Center for Network Culture at IT University Copenhagen in Denmark. In this keynote address, Dr. Sheller provides an overview of developments in augmented reality art with particular emphasis on my work and the work of ManifestAR. The video can be viewed online.
ManifestAR @ ICA
In April of 2011, ManifestAR was invited by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston to create “ManifestAR @ ICA” in association with the 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival.
On March 31, 2011, John Pyper reviewed the project for The Daily Serving in his article “Manifest.AR at the ICA, Boston,” as did Marie Lechner in “La conquête des espaces,” for Libération, Paris on March 9, 2011.
Boston.com aired a video review “Virtual landscapes: Boston Cyberarts Festival exhibit at the ICA,” by John Tlumaci and Geoff Edgers.
The Institute of Contemporary Art strives to share the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, provocation, and imagination that contemporary art offers through public access to art, artists, and the creative process.
The primary activities of the ICA are threefold:
• To present outstanding contemporary art in all media, including visual art exhibitions, music, film, video and performance, that is deserving of public attention and has not been presented in depth to Boston audiences
• To provide innovative experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages through direct encounters with artists and art making
• To design interpretative programs that provide context, develop appreciation, and add meaning to contemporary art and culture
The Boston Cyberarts Festival is the first and largest collaboration of artists working in new technologies in all media in North America, encompassing visual arts, dance, music, electronic literature, web art, and public art.
On May 15, Stephen Pershing interviewed me regarding our work at the ICA and other projects on his weekly program Art Note on Boston’s UNregular Radio.
Gradually Melt the Sky
In April of 2011, my work was included in “Gradually Melt the Sky,” at Devotion Gallery in Brooklyn, New York and beyond.
The title of this exhibition takes its cue from the 1964 artwork-poem “Tunafish Sandwich” by Yoko Ono. The text imagines a performance event which is at once cosmic and mundane, an action painting and a protest. The artworks in this exhibition employed the recent developing technology dubbed “augmented reality” to overlay, intervene and challenge the physical world in much the same conjectural spirit as preceding Fluxus and Conceptual works. As the influence of the virtual expands, integrates and maps itself across the material, strange objects, banal byproducts, ghost imagery and radical events appear in our homes and spatially across the landscape.
Devotion is a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design. Devotion presents cross-disciplinary work that draws from architecture, computation, gaming, biology, fabrication, interface design, open-source communities, cloud computing, sound, and complexity. Devotion seeks out artists who use new technologies or introduce new paradigms.
In February of 2011, my work was selected to be included in “COLLISION16:fluid,” a national juried group exhibition at the Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media in Boston.
COLLISIONcollective (aka Cc) was founded in 2002 as an offshoot of the MIT student art group, ATat (Arts and Technology at tech), whose charter was to host events showcasing art, which incorporates technology. COLLISIONcollective produces experimental shows, called COLLISIONs, engaging viewers with interactive and robotic art, inviting them to explore laser-lighted spaces, shake their heads at LED sculptures, listen and dance to live electronic music and generally have a good time — while being introduced to the future of art.
Axiom’s mission is to support and encourage experimentation in the arts through exhibitions, events, educational programs and collaboration with like-minded groups in an effort to foster the development of new practices in contemporary art making.
Smoke and Mirrors
On November 29th to December the 10th, 2010, a selection of videos were exhibited in the international juried exhibition, “Smoke and Mirrors,” at the Lightwell Gallery in Norman, Oklahoma.
As much the conjuror’s trick as the conspirator’s plot, Smoke and Mirrors refers to a careful act, fully conceived and artfully deceptive. Within the realm of an artist’s reflection, it becomes a space worth investigating.
On August 2nd to September 4th, 2010, My work was included in “Tunneling,” an invitational group exhibition at Famous Accountants Gallery in Bushwick New York.
Tunneling was reviewed by Emmy Thelander in “Tunneling in Bushwick: Group Show at Famous Accountants,” for the ArtBlog, among others.
In July 2010, I traveled with Will Pappenheimer to Xi’an, China to produce a version of the “Virta-Flanerazine Clinical Trial” for the Tangible Spiritualities exhibition during Digital Art Weeks 2010 at the Academy of Art Museum in Xi’an.
In 1911 the abstract artist and metaphysical theorist Wassily Kandinsky wrote that “when society is shaken: Man withdraws his gaze from externals and turns it inwards. Literature, music and art are the most sensitive spheres in which this spiritual revolution makes itself felt . . . they turn away from the soulless life of the present toward those substances and ideas that give free scope to the non-material strivings of the soul.” (Concerning the Spiritual in Art or The Art of Spiritual Harmony) One hundred years later, human culture finds itself in a similar condition. Electronic artists are now able to create virtual environments, which remove traditional distinctions of interior and exterior reality. What does this portend spiritually for the practicing artist and culture at large? Tangible Spiritualities presented global perspectives upon how new media facilitates the spiritual in art.
July 4, 2010, during the Digital Art Weeks Symposium, I gave a paper on the “Artificial Life and Virtual Suburbia,” panel which included Ma Qinyun, Yifan Wang, Simon Schubiger, and Anna Dumitriu.
On July 19, 2010, Mark Baard reviewed the “Virta-Flanerazine Clinical Trial, Xi’an” in “Stuck in your online routine? Give this a shot,” for the Boston Globe.
ISEA 2009 Exhibition
On August 4 until September 5, 2009, the second version of the “Virta-Flanerazine Clinical Trial,” was on exhibit as part of the 15th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). The ISEA 2009 Exhibition was an international juried exhibition, at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast.
Artists from across the globe presented an exciting range of innovative and challenging work at the interface of art, science, communication and technology, in an unprecedented multi-site exhibition in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the ISEA 2009 Exhibition. Curated by Kathy Rae Huffman, the Exhibition addressed contested spaces, focusing on the environment, political and economic conflicts and the human body.
“Imaging Place SL” emerged at a time when the very first experiments in virtual world art exhibitions were taking place. “TransForm” at Second Life’s DSL Cyber MoCA space was an early example of an international art exhibition in an online social network.
Based on the Dominique and Sylvain Levy collection of contemporary art, “TransForm” presents influential artists’ work, including installations by Huang Yongping, Xu Tan, Gu Wenda, Lin Yilin, John Craig Freeman, multimedia by Wang Gongxin, photography by Yang Fudong and Zheng Guogu. The exhibition is held exclusively in DSL Cyber MOCA Second Life virtual environment.
Patrick Lichty wrote about the phenomenon of virtual art exhibitions in his article “The Translation of Art in Virtual Worlds,” in volume 16 issue 4 – 5 of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) published by MIT Press.
Imaging Wall Street
On February 15th until the 28th, 2009, “Imaging Wall Street,” was exhibited at the NY Arts Broadway Gallery in Soho, New York.
In Imaging Wall Street, John Craig Freeman and Will Pappenheimer make their way across Lower Manhattan from the Stock Exchange to the various investment banks and financial service companies which were recently bailed out by the U.S. Government. The artists collected people’s stories of loss and home as they went. This work was created on location in lower Manhattan in the fall of 2008 during the beginning of the financial crisis that continues to grip the world even today.
Public Art Dialougue
In 2009 I was asked to join the Editorial Board of the Public Art Dialogue.
Public Art Dialogue, the journal, serves as a forum for critical discourse and commentary about the practice of public art defined as broadly as possible to include: memorials, object art, murals, urban and landscape design projects, social interventions, performance art, and web-based work. Public Art Dialogue is a scholarly journal, welcoming of new and experimental modes of inquiry and production. Most issues are theme-based, and each features both peer-reviewed articles and artists’ projects. The journal is overseen by co-editors assisted by an international editorial board, which reflects the diversity and cross-disciplinarity of the public art field. Routledge publishes the journal twice a year in print and electronic formats.
Imaging Place: Globalization and Immersive Media
In 2008, I authored a paper titled “Imaging Place: Globalization and Immersive Media,” Transdisciplinary Digital Art. Sound, Vision and the New Screen Digital Art Weeks and Interactive Futures 2006/2007, Zurich, Switzerland and Victoria, BC, Canada. Selected Papers, edited by Randy Adams, Steve Gibson and Stefan Muller Arisona and published by Springer in Berlin, Heidelberg and New York.
Virta-Flanerazine Clinical Trial
On September 6th to October 4th, 2008, the original version of the “Virta-Flanerazine Clinical Trial,” was premiered at Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Susan Joyce curated this solo exhibition.
The development of “Virta-Flaneurazine” was funded in part with a Rhizome Commission. Founded in 2001, the goal of the Rhizome Commissions Program is to support emerging artists by providing grants for the creation of significant works of new media art, which creatively engage new and networked technologies and works that reflect on the broader social and political impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. Rhizome defines emerging artist as artists who exhibit great potential yet are not fully recognized within their field. Commissioned works can take the final form of web-based works, works that engage mobile platforms, performance, video, installation or sound art.
On October 16, 2008, R. Bosco and S. Caldana reviewed “Virta-Flaneurazine” in “Dos estadounidenses crean una ‘droga’ digital para Second Life” for EL PAÍS in Barcelona. Marie Lechner followed up on September 20, in “Cosmique trip sur Second Life” for Liberation in Paris. La W Radio interviewed Pappenheimer and me in “John Craig Freeman y Will Pappenheimer, creadores de una droga digital para Second Life” in Bogotá, Columbia on October 18, 2008. Listen to the interview online. Finally, Christiane Paul, cites this project in her book Digital Art, Second Addition published by Thames & Hudson in London and New York.
On February 7 until April 15, 2008, I exhibited a version of “Imaging Place: Beijing” at “Mixed Realities,” an international juried exhibition and project commission, by Turbulence.
Mixed Reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments where physical and digital objects can co-exist and interact in real-time.
The “Mixed Realities” exhibition explored the convergence — through cyberspace — of real and synthetic places made possible by computers and networks. It linked and overlaid the Huret & Spector Gallery in Boston, with Ars Virtua in Second Life.
Turbulence has commissioned over 200 works and exhibited and promoted artists’ work through its Artists Studios, Guest Curator, and Spotlight sections. As networking technologies have developed wireless capabilities and become mobile, Turbulence has remained at the forefront of the field by commissioning, exhibiting, and archiving the new hybrid networked art forms that have emerged. Turbulence works have been included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial (’00, ’02, ’04), and its Bit Streams and Data Dynamics exhibitions; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; C-Theory, Cornell University; Ars Electronica, Austria; International Festival of New Cinema and New Media, Montreal; European Media Arts Festival, Germany; and the Sundance Film Festival, among others.
“Imaging Beijing” and the “Mixed Realities” exhibition were reviewed by Raymond Liddell in his article titled “Mixed Realities, an international networked art exhibition,” in the April/May 2008 edition of Art New England.
Amy J. Elias wrote a chapter titled “Psychogeography, Détournement, Cyberspace” for New Literary History, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, through the Muse Project, in Autumn 2010. The chapter placed “Imaging Beijing” in an historical and theoretical context.
Imaging Place: The Choragraphic Method
In the winter of 2008, the online journal Rhizomes published volume 18, titled “Imaging Place,” which I co-edited with Craig Saper, W.F. Garrett-Petts. In addition to my role as coeditor, I authored a chapter titled, “Imaging Place: The Choragraphic Method.”
Rhizomes opposes the idea that knowledge must grow in a tree structure from previously accepted ideas. New thinking need not follow established patterns. Rhizomes promotes experimental work located outside current disciplines, work that has no proper location. As its name suggests, works written in the spirit of Deleuzian approaches are welcomed but not required. Rhizomes is not interested in publishing texts that establish their authority merely by affirming what is already believed. Instead, they encourage migrations into new conceptual territories resulting from unpredictable juxtapositions.
A version of this project was also published in book form by Textual Studies in Canada Publications in Kamloops British Columbia.
The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography
In 2007, I was asked by the publisher Elsevier, to author an article titled “Photographic Virtual Reality,” for the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography.
On July 10th to the 14th, 2007, I installed a version of the “Imaging Place” interactive installation for the “Place Relations” exhibition at Der Kunstraum Walcheturm in Zurich, Switzerland. Art Clay curated this international group exhibition as part of the 2007 Digital Art Weeks.
“Imaging Place,” was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Beijing on April 26th to August 26th, 2007, in the “Language/Environment” exhibition.
On March 10th to April 15th, 2007, “Imaging Place” was included in the “Tergloba” exhibition the Oakland University Gallery just outside of Detroit.
The artists selected for this exhibition come from a diverse and expansive range of nationalities and ethnicities. They explored different facets of globalization in their artistic practice, each articulating their critique, perspective, and opinion.
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