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John Craig Freeman brings AR to the Streets of LA 

The recipient of of LACMA‘s inaugural Art + Technology grant is John Craig Freeman — founding member of Manifrst.AR, the artists’ coalition that took over MOMA with renegade virtual artwork back 2010.

Freeman is in town for a few final weeks to show off his piece “EEG AR: Things We Have Lost” on the streets of LA. The virtual artwork can be seen by downloading a free app (Layer) on your cell phone and then following the markers on the streets as you make your way from places like Pershing Square to the Grand Central Market.

For the uninitiated, AR is augmented reality — the ability to see 3D, animated objects integrated into the real world through a camera-like app on your smart phone, ipad or tablet. AR glasses will soon make the experience hands free.

Freeman’s project was started in Europe when he began to ask people “What have you lost?”. The responses ranged from “my aunt”, to “my dignity”, to “my cellphone — more than 6 times”.  He then created 3D representations of those objects and geolocated them back in those spots.  A map for people to navigate to the objects’ last know location is online.

Freeman took the project to a whole new level with local AR company, DAQRI. He began to incorporate EEG (electroencephalography), or brain reading technology and full body avatars for his participants.  People simply thought about what they lost and the database would present the object in front of them with Star Trek like magic.

Saturday the 18th he will be leading another tour through LA’s historic Olvera neighborhood.  Free signup on the LACMA website.  He will also be doing a AR workshop on April 25th in the LACMA Art + Technology Lab where he will be showing off his technology and teaching people how to create 3D avatars of themselves.


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