Art Blocks x Pace Verso

John Gerrard

World Flag

NFT Details

John Gerrard
World Flag
Release date: Wednesday, Jun 28, 2023, 12 PM EDT

How to Purchase

For assistance in purchasing NFTs, please contact us at

(opens in a new window) Purchase on Art Blocks


(opens in a new window) @johngerrard.inst
(opens in a new window) @artblocks_io
(opens in a new window) @pacegallery

Above: John Gerrard, World Flag (Yemen), Mint #0 of 195 unique, generative NFTs © John Gerrard / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Programmer : Helmut Bressler, Producer: Werner Poetzelberger

Pace Verso, the hub for integrated Web3 artworks at Pace Gallery, and Art Blocks, the leading platform for generative art, are pleased to detail World Flag, a new generative artwork series by John Gerrard, which will launch on Wednesday, June 28 at 12 PM EDT and will be available for purchase through an Art Blocks Dutch auction on (opens in a new window)

Gerrard has dedicated his career to developing technology that supports virtual, generative worlds. For 20 years, the artist has refined the game engines used in his custom-programmed, public-facing simulations, which run on the local times of their respective subjects. His politically resonant artworks have examined issues related to energy production and consumption, food systems, information flows, environmental exploitation, and other timely subjects.

In 2021, Gerrard became the first artist within Pace’s program to release an NFT with Western Flag (NFT), an artwork derived from his simulation Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017, which was commissioned for Earth Day 2017 by Channel 4 in the UK. Western Flag (NFT) recently became the first NFT to be acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His highly collected Petro National series, released in 2022, was the first Web3 project to be produced as part of the collaboration between Art Blocks and Pace Verso, and a generative Petro National artwork was recently acquired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. These and many more works by Gerrard reflect his ability to create uncanny, socially resonant, digital universes.

Building on the success of Petro National and Western Flag (NFT), World Flag unites the formal and thematic concerns of these past two projects. A total of 194 World Flag artworks will be available for purchase through an Art Blocks Dutch auction held on June 28. The artworks from the project will be released in a predetermined order based on 2019 ClimateWatch estimations of the 195 countries’ respective CO2 emissions, from highest to lowest. The country list that informed this order can be found (opens in a new window) here. This format speaks to Gerrard’s interest in the ways that production and consumption function as signifiers of geopolitical power.

Gerrard will also produce a single AP World Flag NFT—a composite of all 195 countries represented in the project. This work will be reserved for institutional acquisition, and it will be minted upon donation.

He will dedicate 10 percent of artist’s proceeds from the Art Blocks sales to Hometree, a nonprofit organization that works to address Ireland’s declining biodiversity and the global climate crisis. Through its Wild Atlantic Rainforest Project, Hometree is restoring a temperate rainforest in Ireland, a unique ecosystem.

About the Project

Each of the 195 World Flag NFTs depicts a different UN member’s flag amid one of four future deserts that speak to the threats of the climate crisis—these landscapes include sandy, ash, cracked mud, and gravel deserts, all of which are generated randomly and uniquely using code-based frequencies, shapes, colors, and skies. In these scenes, which are set in the distant future, the various countries’ flags represent a lost global infrastructure, and the landscapes can be understood as specters of the past, of a depleted global ecology.

World Flag imagines a shared but bleak and deeply inequitable future in which ongoing governmental and legislative failures alongside environmental degradation and mismanagement have rendered the state as a ghost, an apparition of itself. The national flag is reimagined as a performed militaristic sign for a doomed place-based political order. When distributed using the blockchain mechanism and viewed on mobile electronic devices, the work and medium propose a global public art experience—post place, post geography.

Like Western Flag, the flags in Gerrard’s new artworks are made up of billowing clouds of smoke bursting from a flagpole. Unlike Western Flag, which features a jet-black flag of smoke, the World Flag artworks bear the true colors and symbols of the national flags they represent.

As with Petro National, World Flag engages the potential of temporal and spatial media online through game engine technology, connecting the worlds of WebGL and Web3. The scenes in every World Flag artwork run on the local times of the geographic centers of their respective countries, with light conditions in the works changing throughout the year in accordance with the seasons. Night and day are also experienced in the artworks. On a spatial level, the World Flag artworks can be viewed from various orientations by dragging on the screen.

The release of World Flag will coincide with Gerrard’s presentation of his new digital simulation Surrender (Flag) 2023 as part of the group exhibition Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis at the Hayward Gallery in London, on view from June 21 to September 3. Presented in high resolution and featuring a white flag rendered in ephemeral vapors amid a desert landscape, this moving image work “looks to the future, towards ideas of stoppage, parlay and submission to larger planetary realities,” as the artist puts it. As such, Surrender (Flag) 2023—which depicts accurate, detailed representations of a real location near the Mojave Desert in Nevada—can be understood in conversation with World Flag. Further information about the Hayward Gallery’s upcoming presentation can be found (opens in a new window) here.

Gerrard will participate in a Twitter Spaces discussion with Art Blocks Founder and CEO Erick Calderon at 10 a.m. EDT on June 22. To mark the launch of World Flag, Art Blocks will host another talk with Gerrard on Twitter Spaces on June 28 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The artist will also actively engage with the Art Blocks community on Discord in the lead up to the project launch. More information about World Flag can be found at (opens in a new window)

Screen Shot 2023-06-23 at 3.32.45 PM

John Gerrard on Making Social Sculpture for the Present Moment

In our new film, John Gerrard takes us on a journey through his practice, from the 1990s to the present, highlighting some of the environmental and geopolitical events that have informed his projects.

Watch Now


Adam Kleinman on John Gerrard’s Prescient World Flag Artworks

Read Now

John Gerrard_v38 _c2

Photography by Kris Graves, courtesy the artist.

About the Artist

John Gerrard is widely regarded as a key figure in the development of simulation within contemporary art. Deceptively looking like film or video, his works are virtual worlds, made using real-time computer graphics, a technology developed by the military and now used extensively in the gaming industry.

Learn More

  • Pace Verso — John Gerrard: World Flag, Jun 7, 2023