Project Overview

Project Investigators: Baden Pailthorpe, Aaron Coutts
Artistic Director: Baden Pailthorpe
Composer: James Brown
Technical Assistance: Alex Ong, Dara Gill, Nicola Best
Facilitated by: Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT), Synapse Residency with the School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
Project Funding: Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

  1. 2017-2018

Baden Pailthorpe, ‘Clanger (longitude, latitude, decibels)’, 2018. Installation view, UTS Art, Sydney

Clanger, a solo exhibition at UTS Art, Sydney, explores the aesthetics of power through data, bodies and technology. In an environment that is both physical and virtual, Clanger pairs the statistical tracking of elite AFL players with the emotional intensities of the crowd.

Using anonymous player and crowd data captured during the 2017 AFL Round 23 Swans v Carlton game, Baden Pailthorpe re-stages the drama and flow of a match in its entirety by moving the game from the field to the virtual plane, rendering both players and the crowd as data-borne creations caught in a deeply emotional, cultural and aesthetic tradition.

In statistical terms, the word ‘Clanger’ refers to a turnover or a silly mistake made by a player in an AFL match. The criteria for each player’s usefulness is defined wholly 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.

By adopting the vernaculars of sport and gaming, the artist creates an immersive environment that emphasises the role of experience in the propagation of labour, culture, and ideas. A new 36-channel video work re-articulates the match using the two team’s GPS data, while a single-channel video work on the opposing end of the gallery/field renders the crowd via audio data captured at the game. A soundtrack by composer James Brown accompanies this work. By pairing the compelling languages of creative practice with the statistics of player performance, Pailthorpe’s Clanger demonstrates that data becomes information only by interpretation.

Clanger results from Pailthorpe’s Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) 2017 Synapse Artist Residency with UTS Sport and Exercise Science and professor Aaron Coutts. The exhibition is supported by a catalogue essay by Dr Dan Golding, lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology; co-author of Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, The Fight for the Future of Videogames (Affirm Press, 2016).