Photographers bring together the worlds of art and sport in THE ART OF THE GAME

The Art of the Game reveals two of Australia’s most innovative photographers – Trent Parke and Narelle Autio – as they bring together the worlds of art and sport in their first ever moving image work Summation of Force.

This hybrid documentary follows the parallel narratives of Trent and Narelle’s careers and the making of Summation of Force, with a philosophical essay film that looks at how the idiosyncratic sport of cricket, with its vagaries of chance and luck, can be seen as a metaphor for life itself. Cricket it seems, contains something so intriguing that it has inspired the work of artistic giants such as Beckett, Francis Bacon and Edward Muybridge. But can sport really be considered art?

Trent Parke (Australia’s only Magnum photographer) and Narelle Autio are partners in life and art and have a knack for creating uniquely Australian stories that bring alive the beauty and idiosyncrasy of ordinary life. After their son Jem asks them why it is his younger brother can bowl so fast, the family build a professional cricket pitch in their own backyard and spend two years filming this artwork investigating the physics, motion and beauty of the game, all to try and answer this simple question.

As the work unravels, we see how cricket has played a role in the lives of both artists. In his early teens, Trent was a talented leg spin bowler who played alongside Adam Gilchrist and Michael Slater, before becoming a sports photographer for News Ltd and travelling with the Australian cricket team. For Narelle, also brought up on a diet of childhood backyard cricket, the work brings together both her obsession for making art that is inspired by ordinary life and her explorations into the beauty of the human body in motion. As parents they spend countless hours dedicated to coaching, scoring and travelling with their two talented cricket playing sons, who are also the stars in the work. Their life and art become one and the same.

In the wake of recent scandals around the sport, the artwork takes on new resonance, as the pressures of professional cricket mirror the artist’s own questions about the pressures and cost of becoming an elite sportsperson. What does cricket mean to us as a nation? What does it take – and what does it mean – to be truly great?

THE ART OF THE GAME is available to stream now on ABC iview.