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One of the works in augmented reality for 'Climate Change Migration Stories' by John Craig Freeman.

'Augmented Reality' Works Debut at This Week's First Friday

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — This month's First Friday event will offer a different way to engage with art: through augmented reality. 
 
The Public Arts Commission on Monday approved the installation of signage with QR codes that will give viewers the ability to see artwork overlays by John Craig Freeman and Michael Lewy on local venues. The works will go live Friday night during the Night Market on Eagle Street. 
 
"The art is augmented reality art. It exists in the virtual world, you cannot see it," said Anna Farrington, owner of Installation Space on Eagle Street that is hosting the exhibit. "The signs will communicate to viewers the QR codes that help you access the art and if you do not already have the QR app on your phone to look at the art, it will prompt you to download the Hoverlay app."
 
Farrington, chair of the commission, stepped away from her position on Monday to make the presentation. She said she had already spoken with Mayor Jennifer Macksey and Building Inspector William Meranti, who approved the project. All that was left was an endorsement from the commission for placing the signs on public property. 
 
The wayfinding signs will be similar to political signs — corrugated plastic on a wire H-frame. The signs will be placed in Colegrove Park, the Eagle Street Pocket Park, by the Veterans Memorial and near the visitors center in the Windsor Mill. 
 
Freeman's work is part of his "Climate Change Migration Stories," which looks at the consequences of climate, globalization and local communities. He has produced large-scale public works over his 20-year career and has used augmented reality to create walking tours of virtual scenes. 
 
One work in this exhibit shows two people up to their chests in water at Colegrove Park. 
 
"If you look at the map of North Adams, there's an overlay map on the Tijuana border wall, there's some interfacing with locations," Farrington said. "So as you go from location to location in North Adams, you're accessing this virtual
experience."
 
Lewy's work is inspired by the 1966 French dystopian science fiction movie "Alphaville," and called "Beta 64."
 
"The different access points represent different artworks created in association with this movie, including some monsters and creatures like those that will appear," Farrington said, showing the commission some examples. "Both artists' work was designed and developed specifically to be viewed in public parks. So it's really meant to be in public for public consumption."
 
"This is a new opening for us," said Commissioner Emily Johnson. "There's a pathway is for us to bring in more types of artists like that into our parks."
 
Farrington said the presentation was on a tight timeline to be ready to go live at Friday's event. 
 
"It's a temporary invisible art exhibit. I'm hoping that I can get permission to put it up," she said. "I think it'd be fun to have people in North Adams connect over virtual art."
 
The commission also discussed for applying for grants and the potential for commissioning or supporting artists in creating public art. The possibility of doing sidewalk or street art was raised but Farrington said there had been no real response from the City Council outside not endorsing painting crosswalks. 
 
"There was a lot of discussion, but I think some of the councilors were like, 'hey, we're done with this,'" said Commissioner Bryan Sapienza, also a city councilor. "Though we were very receptive to other venues instead of the crosswalks."
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North Adams Restaurant Has to Reapply for Alcohol License

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Desperados restaurant won't be able to serve alcohol until it gets a new license under its new ownership. 
 
Former owner Peter Oleskiewicz and new manager Chris Bonnivier had been scheduled to discuss the transition situation with the License Commission on Tuesday but Commissioner Rosemari Dickinson informed her colleagues that the restaurant's license had been turned in. 
 
"Mr. Oleskiewicz hand-walked his license to surrender to us yesterday," Dickinson said at Tuesday's meeting. "So the license is no longer. He voluntarily surrendered it."
 
Since the property no longer has a valid license, the alcohol cannot even be stored at 23 Eagle St., she said, because the pouring license is no longer in effect. The alcohol can be sold to other license holders, with permission of the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, or back to the distributor. 
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