Irish new media artist John Gerrard (b. 1974, N. Tipperary, Ireland) released his first ever NFT on March 20 on the Foundation platform. A 24-hour auction will be initiated when the reserve of 250 ETH ($414,742.50 as of March 23) is met.
Certified by Verisart, Western Flag (NFT) is a unique 1.8k x 1.8k sequence derived from Gerrard’s solar simulation, Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017, an artwork that was commissioned for Earth Day 2017 by Channel4, UK as a TV hack. The artwork was subsequently shared worldwide in the form of digital clips and stills, and became an icon of climate change protest.
"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," said the artist in dezeen.
"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."
Gerrard’s project aims to create an entirely ethical and radically transparent NFT sale, which captures the philosophy of the Blockchain. This will be the first “superneutral” NFT in the marketplace.
50% of ethereum proceeds from the Western Flag (NFT) sale will be transferred to regenerate.farm / iridescent.eth, an emergency cryptofund dedicated to soil restoration and post petroleum agricultural practices in Ireland. regenerate.farm, which is both the title of the fund and its domain name, was founded by Gerrard in March 2021. It exists in dialogue and partnership with a collective of creators: artists, farmers, thinkers, organizers, and families, who will ensure that the ethereum is transferred directly and transparently to biological and regenerative farmers and organizations. It will be used for carbon reversal efforts that remove petrochemicals and nitrogen fertilizer from soil and “draw down” carbon dioxide into the ground.
The energy usage associated with the auction will be tracked by the website, Carbon.FYI, which will create a real-time record of the project’s carbon footprint. Ethereum will be donated to regenerate.farm to offset this usage at a rate of 0.1 eth per tonne of carbon dioxide, or approximately 16 times standard industrial rates, making it “superneutral”. Gerrard will also be compensating for the ethereum mining generated by the purchaser of the work during their transaction by donating the equivalent ethereum to the farming cryptofund from the artist’s proceeds.
The singular NFT augments the existing software edition of Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017, which exists as an edition of 5 plus 2 AP.
This project returns Western Flag to the digital community that made it famous. As part of the NFT project, a video file of the work can be freely downloaded as public art from regenerate.farm/NFT.
Gerrard is considered a pioneer of simulation within contemporary art. His annual softwares are in the collections of MoMA, Tate, SFMoMA, LACMA, Pinault Collection, Ullens Foundation, M+, Pinakothek der Moderne, and TBA21, among others. Recent projects include Mirror Pavilion, originally commissioned for Galway International Arts Festival 2020 to include screenings of Corn Work and Leaf Work.
Corn Work will now be presented at Gwangju Biennale from April 1, 2021, and Leaf Work will premiere at Derrigimlagh Bog, Connemara, County Galway in Ireland in summer 2021.
Gerrard works with Pace Gallery in New York, Thomas Dane Gallery in London, and Long March Space in Beijing.