Irish artist John Gerrard, famous for his monumental real-time 3D digital installations, presented his new artwork at Wellcome Collection, London. X. laevis (Spacelab) 2017 is a 3D live simulation, powered by UNIGINE 2 Engine, which is the primary engine used by the artist and his collaborators.
The artwork combines the artist’s impressions of Luigi Galvani’s bioelectricity studies in 18th century and another experiment which occurred in space in 1992. Galvani was the first who discovered the bioelectricity phenomenon, using static electricity on dead frogs. The second experiment took place 200 years later, on board Endeavour space shuttle in 1992. It established that vertebrates, in the form of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), could reproduce in zero gravity.
These two scientific experiments are combined into one fascinating artwork. A 3D live simulation presents the X. Laevis frog, floating in zero-gravity in a sterile spacelab environment, occasionally kicked by simulated 'electrical shocks' which responds to Galvani’s memory.
The work is produced by Werner Poetzelberger, with programming by Helmut Bressler, 3d modelling by Max Loegler, rigging and posing from Michael Buettner, dancer and handmodel Esther Balfe, installation development and technical design by Jakob Illera of Inseq Design.