A new work by Irish artist John Gerrard has just opened in the sculpture park of Norway's Kistefos Museum in Jevnaker, about 60km north of Oslo. The permanent work, 'Pulp Press (Kistefos) 2013', is located in the grounds of a 19th-century paper mill and has brought the industrial machine back to life, albeit as a digital simulacrum built with software that is more typically used by the military and gaming programmers.
It has taken a couple of years for Gerrard and his team to reconstruct the mill digitally, with missing pipes, valves and components sourced and added to create a true-to-life, digital replica. Gerrard's virtual mill is now presented to the public as a projection within a bespoke concrete pavilion, designed in collaboration with Dublin's A2 Architects.
The work's physical presence is also inherent in the daily increasing 'stock' of digital sheets of paper pulp it produces - digital files that are inspired by historic images. They accumulate in hard-disk units inside the pavilion, emulating the piles of wood pulp bales that the mill once produced. As each hard disk is filled, another is required, and so the project expands forever more. While we may live in a 'paperless' world, Gerrard is keen to remind us that even digital data is stored in a physical world.
The pavilion is the latest in a series of collaborations between Gerrard and A2 Architects, and joins sculptures in the park by artists including Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Marc Quinn and Anish Kapoor.