ANAT Alumnnus :: Baden Pailthorpe
ANAT alumnus Dr Baden Pailthorpe is an artist whose practice is shaped by internet culture. Working with emerging and experimental technologies, his research and artworks examine the relationship between aesthetics and power, interrogating the politics of technological and economic structures across sport, finance and the military-industrial complex. Since 2011, Baden’s practice has integrated performance and installation alongside screen-based interventions.
As an ANAT Synapse residency recipient in 2017, Baden worked with UTS Sport and Exercise Science Professor Aaron Coutts to explore a way to quantify the crowd’s influence on player performance. Using anonymous player and crowd data captured during the 2017 AFL round 23, Swans versus Carlton game, the artist immortalised the drama and flow of the match in its entirety. In an environment that is both physical and virtual, his video projection Clanger paired the statistical player performance with the emotional intensities of the crowd.
2017 ANAT Synapse residency
BADEN PAILTHORPE + AARON COUTTS, SPORTS AND EXERCISE SCIENCE UTS
In statistical terms, the word ‘clanger’ refers to a turnover or a silly mistake made by a player. The criteria for each player’s usefulness is defined by the data they generate during the game— AFL players are tracked using micro wearable units that include GPS and accelerometers. The amount of data generated from these devices in a given game is immense; every movement is tracked, stored and interpreted in an effort to understand performance, mitigate injury and measure value. Baden used the x and y co-ordinates from the data to create a sort of sculptural form of each player’s game. The result is a hypnotic assemblage that makes each player look like a cross between an Avatar-like video game and a military aircraft.
Watch Baden discuss his 2017 ANAT Synapse residency with Aaron Coutts, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at UTS.
“AFL is such a spatial thing – it really is a poetic thing – it’s a performance, kind of like gladiatorial theatre,” says Baden.
“I saw AFL as being a culture rich in aesthetics and emotional intensity because there is so much spectacle in it – anyone who has been to a footy game can sense the palpable energy and can feel why it is a quasi-religious experience for many.”
Read Dr. Dan Golding’s exhibition essay The Rules of The Crowd here.
Dan is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology.
The above image is from the Tracker Data Project, a collaboration between Baden, Adam Goodes and Old Ways, New, which will be exhibited at MOD. in 2022. Every AFL game Adam Goodes played, his body was tracked 10 times per second via a global network of satellites. For Adam, this vast dataset is culturally significant. The Tracker Data Project reveals the hidden cultural knowledges and systems in his dataset through the form of a significant wirra (red river gum tree, pronounced widda) on Adnyamathanha Yarta. It also presents a sonic experience of the Adnyamathanha creation story through the Ararru (north wind) and Mathari (south wind) bloodlines, the defining elements of Adam’s kinship system.
The Tracker Data Project realises an opportunity to build new culturally informed technologies which embed Indigenous Traditional Knowledges and protocols into the overarching framework and architecture, with the intent and capacity to deliver broad social, cultural and environmental impact, better usability, and deeper insights. The research and development process for this project will decompress the reductive nature of data capture by bringing to life the cultural relationships and knowledges inherent in Adam’s performance as an elite Indigenous athlete and leader.
Baden is a Lecturer in Hybrid Art Practice at the ANU School of Art & Design, Canberra. He holds a Ph.D from the University of New South Wales, an MFA from l’Université Paris VIII, an MA from UNSW Art & Design and a BA from the University of Sydney. Baden received an Asialink/Australia Council residency with renowned Japanese art collective teamLab and has been awarded residencies at UTS Sport and Excercise Science; Screen Space, Melbourne; and the Cité Inernationale des Arts, Paris, where he developed a performance work for the Centre Pompidou. His work is held in significant private and public collections.
ANAT’s prestigious flagship program has supported creative research collaborations between more than one hundred artists and scientists, since it was established in 2004. The ANAT Synapse program is made possible through the generous support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.
ANAT is excited to support Old Ways, New to work with practitioners in the development of the Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence (IP//AI) Prototype in 2021.
The fourth iteration of the Indigenous Protocols and Artificial Intelligence body of work will entail the development of a prototype, informed by the work produced within the IP//AI Incubator, 2021. Old Ways, New brings core participants from the IP//AI Inc. into a discrete process that further develops and releases practical and tangible ways to engage with the body of research culminating over three years. Key to this next iteration of the work will be the framing and application of the Indigenous protocols devised as part of the IP//AI Inc.