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)

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 Michalk
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 Olmedo
Character 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. 

2016 · John Gerrard 'Power.Play'

UCCA, Beijing

9 June - 7 August, 2016
Curated by Philip Tinari

UCCA (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art) Beijing to bring 'Power.Play' a first solo exhibition of John Gerrard’s work to China.

Gerrard’s first exhibition in China features three recent, major works.
Farm (Pryor Creek, Oklahoma) 2015, is a digitally modeled composite of one of Google’s server centers in Oklahoma.
Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014, a reconstruction based on satellite imagery of a system of roadways located mysteriously in the middle of the Gobi Desert, which then becomes the site for a lengthy elimination game played among avatars modeled on factory workers in Guangzhou.
Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 is a painstakingly accurate, virtual portrait of a functioning solar farm, widely admired for its dramatic presentation in the Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, in late 2014.

www.ucca.org.cn

2015 · John Gerrard 'Exercise'

Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany

28/04/2015–11/10/2015

John Gerrard is known for his elaborate real-time animations, produced after exploration travelling as well as research textual and image-based researches.

The exhibition ‘Exercise’ presents a series of works addressing the so-called military-industrial background of high-tech-wars and global medialization since the 1980s.
Moreover the works are about exercising the body and mind in a meditative sense as far as embarking to his work requires concentration. Gradually their logic and beauty reveals to the viewer. Painting and sculpture, photography and film, dance and performance, architecture and land art – John Gerrards compositions take over a variety of suggestions and proposals out of different fields and expose their intersections.

Exhibited works:
Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014
Exercise (Djibouti) 2012
Burning Oil Fields (near Abadan, Iran) 2013
Infinite Freedom Exercise (near Abadan, Iran) 2011
Live Fire Exercise (Djibouti) 2011

www.kunsthalle-darmstadt.de

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. 

2013 · Bench for Networking (Dunhuang)

'The Everyday Experience' at IMMA, Dublin

3 November 2013 - 26 January 2014

IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) has invited the Irish Architecture Foundation to take over a gallery space during the Eileen Gray exhibition. The IAF’s activity comprises of an exhibition The Everyday Experience of national and international architects, designers, artists who reflect on the impact and practice of architecture and its effect on everyday lives.

Work by Tatiana Bilbao, Tom dePaor and Peter Maybury, Pablo Bronstein, Set Collective, Celine Condorelli, John Gerrard in collaboration with A2 Architects, Alex Milton amongst others will reveal how much of our experience of designed or informal space is unconscious, immersed in the everyday and woven into life.

Curated by Nathalie Weadick / The Irish Architecture Foundation.
 

Bench for Networking (Dunhuang) 2013
John Gerrard in collaboration with A2 Architects
Cement board; wood substrate; wireless router

Sited in an extreme corner of The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, a former home for pensioner soldiers designed in 1680 by William Robinson, State Surveyor General, this ‘Bench for Networking’ provides another latent overlay on an already significant military site.
The bench’s protruding, closed outer edge into the room is somewhat defensive, disruptive; one must negotiate its map-like form. The positioning of the bench also proposes that it can potentially extend through the walls and cross-penetrate other rooms and outdoor areas in future iterations.
What appears at first as monolithic and cast is in fact a precise, shell-like assembly of cement board bonded onto a plywood substrate supported by a timber stud carcass that is embedded with a concealed wireless router. The bench is deceptively light so that it is transportable and so that it can function as a networking arena in any corner of any room of any building.

Research

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2016 · JOHN GERRARD 'POWER.PLAY' / UCCA, BEIJING
Image courtesy the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Photography: Li Sen.
2016 · JOHN GERRARD 'POWER.PLAY' / UCCA, BEIJING
Image courtesy the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Photography: Li Sen.
2016 · JOHN GERRARD 'POWER.PLAY' / UCCA, BEIJING
Image courtesy the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Photography: Li Sen.
2016 · JOHN GERRARD 'POWER.PLAY' / UCCA, BEIJING
Image courtesy the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Photography: Li Sen.
2016 · JOHN GERRARD 'POWER.PLAY' / UCCA, BEIJING
Image courtesy the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. Photography: Li Sen.
2015 · JOHN GERRARD 'EXERCISE' / KUNSTHALLE DARMSTADT, GERMANY
2015 · JOHN GERRARD 'EXERCISE' / KUNSTHALLE DARMSTADT, GERMANY
2015 · JOHN GERRARD 'EXERCISE' / KUNSTHALLE DARMSTADT, 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
2013 · BENCH FOR NETWORKING (DUNHUANG) / 'THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE' AT IMMA, DUBLIN
© Marie-Louise Halpenny
2013 · BENCH FOR NETWORKING (DUNHUANG) / 'THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE' AT IMMA, DUBLIN
© Marie-Louise Halpenny
2013 · BENCH FOR NETWORKING (DUNHUANG) / 'THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE' AT IMMA, DUBLIN
© Marie-Louise Halpenny
2013 · BENCH FOR NETWORKING (DUNHUANG) / 'THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE' AT IMMA, DUBLIN
© IAF Irish Architectural Foundation
2013 · BENCH FOR NETWORKING (DUNHUANG) / 'THE EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE' AT IMMA, DUBLIN
© IAF Irish Architectural Foundation
Original found land markings, Gobi Desert, China.  Seen on Google Earth here.  Artist commissioned satellite scan.  Courtesy the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery, Simon Preston Gallery. 
Participants in Exercise (Dunhuang) 2014