The traditional Aussie backyard meets David Lynch in a sports science lab, it’s safe to say cricket has never appeared as ethereal and visually rich as it does in the stunning trailer for the much-anticipated new work by the husband and wife team of Trent Parke and Narelle Autio.
The teaser for the world premiere of The Summation of Force shows the art of the game as well as the physics of sport in a spectacular new light. The eight-channel moving image work will open at Samstag on Friday, June 30, and is Parke and Autio’s first venture into moving image and sound installation.
The acclaimed South Australian photographers filmed their sons in their backyard playing cricket for the black and white project that was filmed in 2016/17 over a period of nine months. The pair shot on average four nights a week over that nine-month period and collaborated with local film crew Closer Productions for the project, with Closer’s Matthew Bate (director of Sam Klemke’s Time Machine and Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure) a co-director on the five-chapter multi-channel work.
“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,” Samstag director Erica Green says.
Trent Parke, a former sports photographer who was the first Australian invited to join Magnum Photos, says that cricket characters and legends have helped “shape Australia’s identity” and that his and Autio’s work usually revolves around what is happening in their lives.
“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,” Autio says. “The footage was in itself very revealing and sparked an idea about the involvement of children in sport and the progression to elite sport.
“We used one film camera, three lights, numerous props, and laid a proper cricket pitch in the backyard and all of the film work was done during autumn and winter of 2016 and 2017.”
“We were very particular, so sometimes this meant spending eight hours shooting a coin toss! It was very labour intensive,” Parke says. “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.”
The Summation of Force exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by journalist Gideon Haigh, who is one of the world’s great cricket writers. Trent Parke and Narelle Autio will appear in conversation with Matthew Bate and Amanda Duthie (Adelaide Film Festival) on Tuesday, August 22 at 1pm.
Trent Parke and Narelle Autio: The Summation of Force
Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, North Terrace
Friday, June 30 to Friday, September 1