John Gerrard, Exercise (Djibouti) 2012
Photography: David Fisher
Exercise (Djibouti) 2012
07.07.2012 — 29.07.2012
Exercise (Djibouti) 2012 is a major new simulation by John Gerrard presented as a large-scale cinematic installation in the setting of the Old Power Station, Oxford.
Originating in found documentary images of US military exercises in Djibouti (Horn of Africa) and informed by research into athletic achievement, the work makes use of emerging technologies to reflect on the relationship between competitive sport, military training, theatrical performance and dance.
On a simulation of the barren Djibouti landscape, two teams of computer-generated figures meet daily at dawn to initiate a series of cryptic gestural routines – precise, repetitive, faintly antagonistic. The scene is a painstaking and extraordinarily detailed reproduction, constructed by hand within the virtual using photographic and satellite data guides from the real landscape. Neither completely synthetic nor strictly real, the work exists in ‘real time’ (Djibouti: GMT +3 hours), orbiting over a yearly cycle that incorporates the movements of sun, moon and stars.
Exercise (Djibouti) 2012 is commissioned by the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford University Sport and Modern Art Oxford and forms part of the London 2012 Festival. The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
John Gerrard was born in Dublin in 1974 and studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Trinity College, Dublin. He exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and has recently shown at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
The Legacy Fellowship is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Culture Ireland, John Fell OUP Fund, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Podium and Magdalen College, Oxford and forms part of RELAY, a region-wide programme of new visual arts commissions and live events across the South East to mark the Olympic year.
Exercise (Djibouti) 2012 is accompanied by a round table titled SIMULATION, EXERCISE, OPERATIONS, organised by Modern Art Oxford in association with Urbanomic. Participants include: Antoine Bousquet, Shane Brighton, Donna De Salvo, James Der Derian, Mark Fisher, Mark Hansen, Stepan Kment, Robin Mackay (Chair), Eivind Rossaak, Anne-Francois Schmid, McKenzie Wark, Eyal Weizman.