Originality 3/5; Performances (acting, singing etc) 3/5; Audience delight 4/5; Production 4/5
This Manchester International Festival (MIF) artwork on the streets is definitely worth a look.
The latest exhibition from Irish artist, John Gerrard, takes place outdoors on a large screen which projects virtual images throughout the day. Taking inspiration from a Henri Bureau photograph, which depicts an Iranian soldier watching a burning oil refinery in south western Iran. The virtual portrait depicts the ever-changing light conditions over a 365 day year, creating a real backdrop in a virtual world.
The 3D avatar figure of a soldier in the foreground performs a series of motions which mimic the exercises of American soldiers in the Gulf region. The exercises run continuously without fixed duration and were created in collaboration with award-winning artist Wayne McGregor. The 3D figure constantly moves around the screen, as the camera pans around to show the 360 degree setting, from dusk till dawn, simulating local light conditions.
The title of the piece is ambiguous bringing together the scale and emptiness of the desert with the small human figure and mixing them up with ideas about how differing cultures view freedom and how it might be achieved.
The exhibition manages to keep the viewers attention through subtle, steady movement, and looking up at the sunny Persian sky on screen makes an interesting contrast between the changing Northern skies.
The free exhibition is part of The Manchester International Festival and takes place outdoor in Lincoln Square and runs until the 17 July.
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