“Gerrard uses technology to remind us that we are living in an increasingly simulated reality, one that we have imagined into being and are continuously recalibrating.”
Becker, Carol, 'Here Comes the Sun' Art in America, December 2014.
Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to present a second solo exhibition by Irish artist, John Gerrard (b. Dublin 1974) consisting of two new works. Gerrard is widely regarded as a pioneer of digital media. Deceptively looking like film or video, his works are simulations - virtual worlds, made using real-time computer graphics, a technology developed by the military and now used extensively in the gaming industry. Often exploring geographically isolated locations – be they the agrarian American Great Plains, remote reaches of the Gobi Desert, or sites of military exercises in Djibouti - the works frequently refer to structures of power and networks of energy that have coincided with the expansion of human endeavor in the past century. In Gerrard’s two new works, hyper-technology meets this sense of isolation again.
In early 2014, following his denial of access by Google Inc, Gerrard hired a helicopter and produced a detailed photographic survey of one the key physical sites of the internet - a Google data server building in Oklahoma, also known as a ‘data farm’. This survey was the starting point of his new work entitled Farm (Pryor Creek, Oklahoma), 2015. It features a simulated ‘twin’ of the squat building flanked by diesel generators and powerful cooling towers. The work extends Gerrard’s ‘Grow Finish Unit’ series, which focuses on architecturally similar, computer-controlled park production units in the Midwestern USA.
Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada), 2014 is shown for the first time outside the US, following its dramatic presentation in Lincoln Centre Plaza by the Public Art Fund in late 2014. Shown here as a large-scale projection, the work is a painstakingly accurate, virtual portrait of a functioning solar power plant. Ten thousand concentrically arranged monumental mirrors move in real-time according to the sun’s position. This virtual scene was created with a team of programmers using a sophisticated massive world simulation engine that situates the sun, moon and stars as they appear at the actual Nevada site over the course of a year. As this virtual world rotates on the earth’s axis throughout a 24 hour day, the perspective of the viewer gradually shifts from ground level to satellite view every hour, so that no view is precisely the same at any point during the course of the exhibition.