The Media Art Gallery launches a virtual and augmented reality exhibition, Portal to an Alternative Reality, by John Craig Freeman. Freeman, Visual Media Arts professor at Emerson, is a public artist and pioneer in the use of emergent technologies.
This exhibition features three different projects: Chinatown Station with Service to Wuhan (2017); Virtual U.S./Mexico Border (2017); and Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos (2015). The first project, Chinatown Station, involves a physical, life-sized subway station entrance that acts as a portal for individual and group virtual reality experiences that highlight the history of the city of Wuhan. The other two projects, Virtual U.S./Mexico Border and Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos, address the contentious issue of the U.S.-Mexican border as a flashpoint of current political debate.
According to the artist, Portal to an Alternative Reality differs from other examples of immersive virtual reality in that it was created on location and represents real people, real places, and real experiences. “This exhibit brings the real to virtual reality… possible new narrative forms structured over space, rather than time. Portal is an experiment in spatial narrative,” said the artist.
John Craig Freeman is a public artist with more than 20 years of experience using emergent technologies. He produces large-scale public work at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. His work seeks to explore how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place.