RELAY commission: ‘Exercise (Djibouti) 2012’ by John Gerrard

john gerrard..jpg

Image courtesy: Edmund Blok

"As troubling as it is breathtaking"-The Guardian

A major new simulation 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 part of RELAY, a region-wide programme of new visual arts commissions and live events across the South East to mark London 2012. It 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 Old Power Station, Arthur Street Oxford OX2 0AS

Until 29 July Mon-Sat 12 noon -8.00 pm, Sun 12 noon - 6.00 pm

Due to the limited nature of the building, there is limited access to the installation.