Meet Andrew Freeburg, our New English Curator

Hiya!

My name is Andrew. I come from the wild woods of Connecticut, USA and recently graduated from Yale University, but right now, I’m having the adventure of a lifetime in Moscow, Russia. Here, I work as a theater artist and designer during the day, but in my free time, I love teaching, and have been doing so here in Moscow for several years.

This is me saying “Privet” in Russian:

I love making my art about the world we live in today, and because of that, I am constantly consuming: whether its news about American politics, research about machine learning and artificial intelligence, new music and movies, or – as of late – late-night adventures around the city in search of Pokemon with “Pokemon Go!”

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with Pokemon: I watched the TV show and the movies, collected the trading cards, and even begged for a holiday to Japan to try and catch them in real life! The trip, of course, never happened, but fifteen years later, here I am, walking around and staring at my phone, trying to catch them all…

The funny thing is, though, that this new “augmented reality” craze has actually brought me more in touch with my “actual” reality. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, and everywhere I’ve been – from the deep woods of Russia, to the streets of Paris, to the mountains of Switzerland – has been full of people searching for Pokemon. But the act of searching together with all of these strangers has actually brought their heads out of their phones.

While searching the city for Pokemon, different monuments and historical places serve as recharge points, and more than once have I heard someone shout at the statues, plaques and artworks that surround my apartment: “Oh! I found the Pokestop!” I have had spontaneous conversations with no less than ten strangers about the game, explaining how it works and why it’s worth trying.

Sometimes, while chasing down a rare Pokemon, I will notice one or two other people around me doing the exact same thing, and we smile, wave, and start up a conversation – who said that this game was antisocial? No way – augmented reality is bringing us all together!

Do you play Pokemon Go? What do you think of it, and virtual reality in general? Is it the best thing since sliced bread, or will it bring about the end of civilization as we know it? Or are we still missing the things that matter in our cities and towns, and would do better by putting our phones away and looking at the art around us for what it is? Let me know in the comments!

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