Water wARs

Manifest.AR Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention

Artist John Craig Freeman, in association with the augmented reality artists collective ManifestAR’s Venice Biennial AR Intervention, has created a public art work in and around the Giardini venue during the 2011 Venice Biennial.

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.

The project consists of a Water wARs Pavilion for undocumented artists/squatters and water war refugees. The Water wARs Pavilion will grow into a sprawling shantytown over course on the biennial from the June 4th to November 27th.

Please visit the ManifestAR‘s Venice Biennial AR Intervention project site.


Water wARs, Giaradini oblique.


Water wARs, Giaradini oblique, closeup.


Water wARs, John Craig Freeman. A pavilions for undocumented artists/squatters and water war refugees. In front of the main pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennial, International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, Giaradini, Venice. June 2, 2011.


Water wARs, Piazza San Marco, Birdseye.


Water_wARs, Piazza San Marco, oblique.


Water_wARs Piazza San Marco, John Craig Freeman. A pavilions for undocumented artists/squatters and water war refugees. In Piazza San Marco during the opening of the 54th Venice Biennale, International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, Giardini, Venice. June 2, 2011.

And you thought the oil wars were bad!

As one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and ‘illumination’ about the current developments in international art, the 54th Biennial of Venice 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 directly amongst the national pavilions in the Giardini.

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.


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



ISEA2011/Istanbul Biennial Catalog, “Uncontainable: Not There,” Kasa Gallery.


Venecia en la brecha digital, art.es Media Art.

Surfing: La Biennale aumentata, Flash Art.

Los pabellones invisibles, Laboral.

La Bienal que emerge a través del móvil, El Pais.

Water wARs at the DUMBO Arts Festival, 2011

A version of Water wARs is included in the 2011 DUMBO Arts Festival just below the Brooklyn Bridge at the very end of New Dock Street.


Water wARs John Craig Freeman, DUMBO Arts Festival, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, 2011.


Water wARs, John Craig Freeman, DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, 2011.

Not Here: An augmented reality project by ManifestAR

The Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University is very pleased to announce that we will not be presenting the augmented reality artwork of the art collective, ManifestAR from June 4 through November 27, 2011. This collective, famous for using augmented reality technology to “hijack” an exhibition at MOMA in 2010, has focused its latest intervention on an even bigger art world target, the 2011 La Biennale di Venezia.

Water wARs at Kassa Galleri, ISEA, 2011

Other exhibitions of Water wARs include Not There at the Kassa Galleri in association with ISEA 2011 and the Istanbul Biennial.

1 Response to Water wARs

  1. Pingback: Outsiders — The Pop-Up City

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