UNIGINE-Powered Artwork By John Gerrard On The Largest Screen At The Inaugural U2 Concert

Nov 14, 2023

In a groundbreaking debut at the MSG Sphere Las Vegas, U2's first live performance in four years featured mesmerizing visuals by acclaimed artist John Gerrard on the world's largest spherical screen, powered by UNIGINE Engine.

The Largest Screen In The World

The entertainment venue designed by Populous showcases its colossal 15,000-square-meter wrap-around LED screen. The screen, towering over 76 meters tall and enveloping viewers in a 180-degree immersive experience, showcased Gerrard's digital artworks in stunning detail.

Its mind-blowing resolution of 268,435,456 pixels is equivalent to 72 HD televisions.

The MSG Sphere Las Vegas is billed as the world's largest spherical structure, with its entire exterior and most of its interior covered in giant LED screens.

U2:UV Achtung Baby Live

After a hiatus of four years, U2 made a triumphant return to the stage with their live show, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live.

In their inaugural performance as part of an ongoing residency at the Sphere, the rock band transformed the expansive screen into a canvas for visual artworks, meticulously curated to resonate with the unique ambiance of Las Vegas, Nevada. The concert unfolded against the backdrop of this all-encompassing screen, which immersed the audience in a captivating exploration of the venue's distinct context.

The visual show was developed directly in conversation of John Gerrard with Bono, Edge, the band, and U2's artistic director Willie Williams.



The musical experience was heightened by the transmission of U2's iconic tunes through nearly 160,000 speakers cleverly concealed behind the massive LED screen.

One of the most breathtaking moments in the set occurred when the entire screen was commandeered by a computer-simulated image. This mesmerizing display depicted the sun rising above the Nevada desert, accompanied by the billowing presence of a white flag at its center, creating a dramatic and unforgettable spectacle for the audience.

“This is not photography, this is not cinematography: this is from a game engine. But a game engine taken to the next level; a level that’s never been at before” - Bono, U2.


Photo by RICH FURY

Digital Artworks

John Gerrard’s Surrender (Flag) 2023 depicts a white flag – a symbol of surrender – formed from plumes of water vapour evaporating in a desert landscape. Though fragile and ephemeral, the flag stands as a cautiously optimistic signpost pointing towards a world less dependent on fossil fuels. For Gerrard, the work ‘looks to the future, towards ideas of stoppage, parlay and submission to larger planetary realities’.

Presented in high resolution on a large outdoor LED screen, Surrender (Flag) 2023, is a continuous simulation made using real-time computer graphics software (UNIGINE Engine). The position of the sun, the shadows and even the stars in the night sky are accurate depictions of a real site near the Mojave Desert in Nevada, US. More info on the artwork.

Surrender Flag XL PRINT George2023 by John Gerrard Photo Edmund Sumner

George. Photographer: Edmund Sumner

Flare (Oceania) 2022 features a gas flare, burning in the form of a flag, in the South Pacific Ocean near Tonga. Based on photographs of the ocean captured by activist and artist Uili Lousi, Flare (Oceania) meditates on the existential threat heating oceans pose to low-lying lands as well as the economic and geopolitical factors contributing to the climate crisis. More info on the artwork.

Flare 07

Photographer : Emilija Jefremova

John Gerrard

John Gerrard (born 1974, Tipperary, Ireland) creates virtual worlds in his game engine-based, politically resonant artworks that take the form of simulations. His custom-programmed, generative, digital works have examined issues related to energy production, food systems, information flows, and other timely subjects. Official website: http://www.johngerrard.net/

UNIGINE Engine is the real-time 3D engine of choice for John Gerrard’s studio since 2014.