John Gerrard, Lord of the Frogs

THE DAILY PIC: At Simon Preston, John Gerrard's latest piece asks whether we all just frogs in a space-lab, with God as our NASA.

THE DAILY PIC (#1792): I don’t normally think about religion when I see one of John Gerrard’s amazing works of high-tech art, but his latest piece at Simon Preston in New York almost had me crossing myself. (Although I can never remember if the mnemonic goes spectacles-testicles-wallet-and-watch or spectacles-testicles-watch-and-wallet.)

For his X.laevis (Spacelab), Gerrard has created an amazingly lifelike computer simulation of the scene inside an orbiting station as an astronaut-scientist studies a frog, of the species Xenopus laevis. (Click here to see a brief video clip.) The frog hovers in mid-air, untouched by gravity, as the astronaut’s gloved hands seem to both protect and control him. With his arm’s outstretched, froggy conjured up an image of the crucified Christ and his final cry of “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” – “Lord, my Lord, why has thou forsaken me?”

And then I thought, is there another “scientist” hovering over the one we see in this piece, running an experiment on him? And is the universe really made up of scientists, all the way down, torturing as they control and protect? Or is God in fact an artist like Gerrard, creating simulations within simulations?

Fiat Xbox?

(Image courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York)

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