Western Flag by John Gerrard

Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017 depicts the site of the 'Lucas Gusher' - the world's first major oil find - in Spindletop, Texas in 1901, now barren and exhausted. John Gerrard has recreated the site as a digital simulation and placed at its centre a flagpole bearing a flag of perpetually-renewing pressurised black smoke. The computer generated Spindletop runs in exact parallel with the real site in Texas throughout the year: the sun rising at the appropriate times and the days getting longer and shorter according to the seasons. The simulation is non-durational (having no beginning or end) and is run live by software that is calculating each frame of the animation in real time as it is needed.

“One of the greatest legacies of the 20th century is not just population explosion or better living standards but vastly raised carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. A new flag attempts to give this invisible gas, this international risk, an image, a way to represent itself. I like to think of it as a flag for a new kind of world order.” John Gerrard

Images: Courtesy of John Gerrard