John Craig Freeman

United States

John Craig Freeman is an artist with 27 years of experience using emergent technologies to produce large-scale public artworks at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. With his work, Freeman seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital network technology is transforming our sense of place. A professor of New Media Art at Emerson College in Boston, Freeman is a ZERO1 American Arts Incubator Fellow, a recipient of a prestigious LACMA Art & Technology commission and has produced work and exhibited around the world.

Virtual U.S./Mexico Border

Site-specific Augmented Reality, with sound

Artist's audio introduction

This Augmented Reality public art project allows audiences to immerse themselves in virtual experiences documenting the North American migration crisis. The project includes geo-located Augmented Reality scenes produced on location at the U.S./Mexico border, which can be viewed with common mobile phones and tablets along the historic Stavanger waterfront. During the 2016 United States presidential campaign, Donald Trump was quoted as saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”. Since his election, tensions have hardened and the border has become increasingly militarized. Virtual U.S./Mexico Border seeks to transpose the experience of being at this important border and to document the stories of migration found there.

“I grew up near the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego california. in the early days, there were no fences or walls between the two countries on the bluffs that overlook the Pacific ocean. Dedicated as Friendship Park on august 18, 1971, this space was considered a liminal space, which the two people shared. over the years, the area has experienced a succession of fortifications reflecting the changing tone of U.S. border politics, from friendship to distrusted adversary. although the footprint of Friendship Park is still visible in satellite images, the border now consists of double steel fencing running right down the middle with a 30 meter buffer zone terminating 100 meters out to sea. embracing the concept of expanded cinema, Virtual US/Mexico Border is intended to transport biennial participants halfway around the world and transform the Vågen waterfront along Strandkaien to a symbolic space”.
– John craig Freeman

Commissioned by Screen City Biennial.

To view the augmented reality work on location along the waterfront in Stavanger, Norway with any late model iPhone, iPad or Android, install the free Layar augmented reality app, Next, search Geo Layers for ‘Screen City Biennial’ or scan this QR code within the Layar app.

Download the AR-application Layer, search Geo Layers for ‘Screen City Biennial’ and open US/Mexico Border.

Begin the Augmented Reality experience from MS Sandnes.

Images: John Craig Freeman, Virtual U.S./Mexico Border (2017), Augmented Reality (AR) public art, with sound, Visualization of Virtual U.S./Mexico Border. Commissioned by Screen City Biennial. Courtesy of the artist.