In what can only be described as a multimedia masterpiece, esteemed South Australian based, award winning artists, Trent Parke and Narelle Autio have taken the notion of backyard cricket to a new level with their newest work.
The World Premier of The Summation of Force is Parke and Autio’s first foray into moving image and sound installation, developed in association with acclaimed filmmaker Matthew Bate and Closer Productions.
Samstag Director, Erica Green said: “The work was created over an average of four nights a week for nine months, 144 nights and many hours in post production. It is one film with five chapters in the story.”
“It is an ambitious multi-channel video project that pitches competitive sport and the mythical power of cricket as a metaphor for life and parenthood.”
Made in suburban Adelaide and featuring the artists’ two young sons—Jem and Dash—they are The Summation of Force as the backyard becomes an epic sports arena referencing the history of Australian cricket.
The work has been shot in high contrast black and white, often in slow motion creating a Lynchian dreamscape that speaks of youthful determination, collective dreams and the bonds that sporting ambition can create both within families and nations.
Narelle Autio said: “We used one film camera, three lights, numerous props, and laid a turf cricket pitch in the backyard and all of the film work was done at night during autumn and winter of 2016 and 2017.”
“We were very particular, so sometimes this meant spending eight hours shooting a coin toss!
Trent Parke said “It was very labour intensive. For the last act we used hundreds of small LED lights that had to be turned on one at a time, including light suits we made for the boys. This in itself could take several hours before we could film and that particular process took months to shoot.”
South Australian photographers and partners in life, Parke and Autio have a knack for telling uniquely Australian stories that resonate with alluring depth and drama.
Trent Parke said: “Sport is Australia’s national obsession. With over 200 years of history to draw on, cricket characters and legends have helped shape Australia’s identity.”
For many Australians, the sporting dream begins at home.
The backyard match has long been a part of Australian life, allowing children to act out the memorable moments of their sporting heroes. This is where the game has been at its purest and where both the unknowns and the greats have honed their skills.
Australian cricketer Greg Chappell (now Cricket Australia’s national talent manager) said:
“I don’t think we fully understand just how important those early years are, the formative years in the backyard or in the street or down the beach … the key lessons for me were learning to compete. Trying to cope with keeping up with an older brother … we haven’t gone close to finding a way to train young cricketers that goes anywhere near what the back yard used to do.”
Narelle Autio said: “Our inspiration to make work is always close and usually revolves around what is happening in our lives at the moment.
“Our boys are very keen cricketers and their questions about the physics of the game, for example, ‘how come some people can bowl faster than others?’, led us to film them in slow motion. The footage was in itself very revealing and sparked an idea about the involvement of children in sport and the progression to elite sport.”
In summer 2017-18 the ASHES will be played out on Australian soil. This most mythical of intercontinental rivalry will provide the backdrop for the launch of this incredible multi-layered artwork.
The Summation of Force by Trent Parke and Narelle Autio in association with Closer Productions and the Adelaide Film Festival.
Presented by the Samstag Museum of Art for the SALA Festival from Friday, June 30 to Friday, September 30.