Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014


A mysterious structure in the heart of the Chinese desert, a precise system of roadways the size of a small town and apparently designed to be seen from orbit.
For Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014, John Gerrard commissioned an American satellite imaging firm to depth-scan these markings in order to digitally reconstruct the entire structure and its surrounding landscape.  Into this simulation, set wandering through the vast road network, the artist places thirty-nine workers from a Ghangzhou computer manufacturing plant, still wearing the blue uniforms and elasticated paper bonnets from that context.
Players on what may equally be read as gameboard, landscape, or gigantic theatre stage, the workers’ paths across the grid are calculated and determined by the A* algorithm, as used in GPS routefinding systems. 
The entire performance, play, competition or exercise is depicted by three different virtual cameras: from human head height, from the point of view of a circling low-flying drone, and from a satellite’s vertical perspective. Tasked with piecing together the data they deliver, conducting a dispassionate surveillance, the viewer is telepresent, omniscient, yet strangely disconnected; a processing channel for information flows with a possibly violent intent, contemplating the scene, constructing the narrative from above, striving to penetrate the logic of the exercise.
Like the site in which it takes place, this is a performance whose eerie calm secretes paranoia, uncertainty, and a creeping awareness of pervasive systems of technological control. (RM)

 


Credits:

Participants: Chen Gui Q. Cheng Xiao Y. Liang Yan F. Tang Yin Y. Liu Yan L.
Liao Xiu R. Feng Shao L. Wu Li Y. Chen Wei P. Ma Yue R. Yuan Jian M. Ding R.
Ma Yan H. Cheng Yu Q. Lan Mou J. Yang Ming S. He Wei D. Gao Xiao M. Li
Jun Q. Hu Q. Chen Zhi C. Yang Zhan H. Ma Fu M. Ma Ping P. Ma Mei Y. Chen
Yan F. Ma Xiao H. Tang Yu M. Ma You J. Chen Jian Z. Tang Jie L. Lou Li C. Ma
Shi P. Lou H. Wang Xian G. Sun Guang M. Su Xi Z. Guo Wei L. Wu Tang S.
Ma Bi R.

Producer : Werner Poetzelberger
Programmer : Helmut Bressler
Actors : Conor Lovett, Esther Balfe, Emmanuel Obeya
Motion Capture, Rigging, Additional Motion Editing : Bohemia Interactive / Štěpan Kment
Motion Capture Editing : Laura Millar
Motion Capture On Set Assistance - Martin Michal.k
3D Character Development : Preproduction / 3D-Modelling / Cloth-Simulation /
Texturing / Rigging /
Animation Editing: arx anima
Character Creation / Project Lead : Martin Hebestreit
Character Rigging / Technical Lead : Benedikt Lutz
Shoot Producer (Hong Kong & Guanzhou) : Matthew Kwang
Shoot Producer (Dunhuang) : Cesar Mejias OlmedoCharacter Shoot (Guanzhou) ITR Space / Hitomi Ko, Javi Miqueleiz
Cross Polarised Shoot (Guanzhou) : Wong Suk Ki
Video shoot (Guanzhou) : Dima Litvinov
Satellite Scans : Satellite Imaging Corporation of Texas USA
Landscape Development : Werner Poetzelberger
Game Engine : Unigine

Commissioned by : Ahmet Kocabiyik / Borusan Contemporary & The Richard
Massey Foundation for Art and Science.

With thanks to : Martine d'Anglejan-Chatillon, Simon Preston, Robin Mackay, Reza Negarestani, Roger Ball of SizeChina Lab. Elaine Ng. Cesar Mejias Olmedo, Special thanks to the actors and dancers : Conor Lovett, Esther Balfe, Emmanuel Obeya for their engagement with the project. 

Production stills


Research


2015 · Exercise

Darmstadt Kunsthalle, Germany

A survey of the Exercise series at Kunsthalle Darmstadt including the works : 

Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014 (pictured)

Exercise (Djibouti) 2012

Burning Oil Fields (near Abadan, Iran) 2013
Infinite Freedom Exercise (near Abadan, Iran) 2011

Live Fire Exercise (Djibouti) 2011

2014 · John Gerrard. Exercise

Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul

28/02/2014 – 04/04/2014

A survey of recent works from the Exercise series alongside the premiere of the newly commissioned work titled  'Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014' (pictured) 

Also Including : 

Exercise (Djibouti) 2012
Infinite Freedom Exercise (near Abadan, Iran) 2011
Burning Oil Fields (near Abadan, Iran) 2013
Live Fire Exercise 2011

Opening February 28th 2014. 

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2015 · EXERCISE / DARMSTADT KUNSTHALLE, GERMANY
2015 · EXERCISE / DARMSTADT KUNSTHALLE, GERMANY
2015 · EXERCISE / DARMSTADT KUNSTHALLE, GERMANY
2014 · JOHN GERRARD. EXERCISE / BORUSAN CONTEMPORARY, ISTANBUL
2014 · JOHN GERRARD. EXERCISE / BORUSAN CONTEMPORARY, ISTANBUL
2014 · JOHN GERRARD. EXERCISE / BORUSAN CONTEMPORARY, ISTANBUL
2014 · JOHN GERRARD. EXERCISE / BORUSAN CONTEMPORARY, ISTANBUL