About the Exhibition
Displayed on a monumental frameless LED wall on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014 by John Gerrard is a computer simulation of an actual power plant known as a solar thermal power tower, surrounded by 10,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight upon it to heat molten salts, essentially forming a thermal battery which is used to generate electricity. Over the course of a 365-day year, the work simulates the actual movements of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky, as they would appear at the Nevada site, with the thousands of mirrors adjusting their positions in real time according to the position of the sun.
This astonishingly real virtual world is meticulously constructed by the artist, a team of modelers, and programmers, using a sophisticated video game engine. Simultaneously over a 24-hour period the point of view will cycle from ground level to a satellite view every 60 minutes, creating an elaborate choreography among perspectives, 10,000 turning mirrors, and a dramatic interplay of light and shadow.
Commuters passing by Lincoln Center on their way to work will see the sun charging the power plant as it rises in Pacific Standard Time, while visitors to evening performances might view a sunset before local Nevada constellations emerge and floodlights illuminate the solar tower at night.