Western Flag

Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017 : midday from johngerrard on Vimeo.

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. 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.Commissioned by Channel 4 for broadcast April 22nd 2017, Earth Day and presented in partnership with Somerset House.