• Stills from Formation VI 2012, HD colour video, stereo audio, 16:9, 8 minutes, 36 seconds. ART94855

    Baden Pailthorpe was selected for the Memorial’s artist-in-residence program in 2013.  The three-month residency provided him with the opportunity to work closely with and alongside the Memorial’s historical collection.  As the first artist-in-residence, Pailthorpe’s work is considered highly relevant due to his manipulation of political popular culture surrounding military life.

    "You can make work with anything, anything is material”

    Baden Pailthorpe, 2013

    Pailthorpe’s media works are created using a variety of established materials within the military genre including Hollywood films, training simulation programs and gaming software.

    Pailthorpe challenges the original functions of his materials (film, computer software) which deliberately confuses the audience in order to elicit questions.

    The Australian War Memorial has acquired a number of Pailthorpe’s works and one, Formation VI, is currently on display, 

    Formation VI was created using the complex military simulation software ARMA II to animate battalions of avatar soldiers.

    This media artwork highlights many aspects of military life including, training, discipline, repetition camouflage, and engaging the enemy. The result is a surprising choreographic rhythm of patterns and motifs through the exploration and effect of visual data through time.

    This performance depicts a group of soldiers moving together as one. For Pailthorpe the process of creation is a paradox, complex by design yet poetic via the simplistic command of one movement, running. The specific choice of landscape amplifies an unexpected result from which the viewer is left to make meaning for themselves.

    The mechanics of the software coupled with Pailthorpe’s intervention (also known as hacking) creates an array of random, unintentional visual effects alongside his design. The creation of Formation VI also involved re-processing and re-mixing the work, including the original soundtrack of the simulation program.

    Activities

    Respond

    How long should we spend looking at a work of art? Is it the viewer who decides? How might Pailthorpe’s Formation VI change or shape this?

    Express

    1. Make your own list of words in response to this work.

    2. Discuss and compare your list with others

    3. View the artwork again. Have there been any changes in your opinion of the work?
      Do other people’s perspectives of the work change your own?

    Deconstruct

    1. How might you make meaning of this work?

    2. What messages are being communicated?

    3. What unique qualities does this work have?

    Inquire

    Pailthorpe asserts that "artists are limited by their own constraints".

    How might this belief be applied to tools, materials and attitudes when creating artworks?

    Considerations

    1. What tools and materials were used to create Formation VI?

    2. What type of art is this?

    3. What external factors have influenced this work?

    4. What type of art might you make in response to this work?

    Compare and contrast

    Use one of the following works to discuss similarities and differences to Formation VI:

    East meets west (First British convoy en route to Berlin) Colin Colahan, 1945. East meets west (First British convoy en route to Berlin) Colin Colahan, 1945. ART26247

    Swans (mosaic detail for Hall of Memory) Napier Waller, 1953. Swans (mosaic detail for Hall of Memory) Napier Waller, 1953. ART29382

    Dome section (mosiac detail for Hall of Memory) Napier Waller, 1954. Dome section (mosiac detail for Hall of Memory) Napier Waller, 1954. ART29386

    Fall in! Lindsay Norman, 1918. Fall in! Lindsay Norman, 1918. ARTV00027

    Making

    Use tools and materials available to you to design an artwork inspired by Formation VI

    1. What tools and materials are used to create Formation VI?

    2. What type of art is this?

    3. What external factors have influenced this work?

    4. What type of art might you make in response to this work?