Artist: Baden Pailthorpe

Baden Pailthorpe is a contemporary Australian artist working predominantly within the field of new media. His work increasingly exposes the reach and operations of contemporary militarism, institutions and power. He has participated in over sixty solo and group exhibitions, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, NIMk, Amsterdam, la Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, ARTSPACE, Sydney and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra; he was the latter’s inaugural Australia Council artist in residence in 2013 (see video below).

We spend a little time with the Sydney based artist to discuss the source of his inspiration, approach to work and what's next.

RJ: You're deeply interested in technology in the military and utilise new media as the canvas for your work. As so much our consumer technologies emerge from military uses i.e. GPS, there exists a great synergy in this combination. What inspired you to begin down this path?

BP: I have grown up with technology - computer games and gadgets - so as I became more interested in art I looked to the tools that shaped my experience of the world and their history. As you mention, the military has been historically a major driver of innovation, and I'm quite interested in the way these technologies are then used in everyday contexts, and the way power operates through these technologies.

RJ: You have done a lot of work with new media depictions of military life. Tell us what is involved in creating these highly detailed digital video renderings?

BP: I've used different techniques for different projects over the years, from remixing films and cinema to using military simulators and video games to produce artworks, and most recently I've been creating 3D animations. I'm quite interested in learning new tools from scratch and finding quirks or glitches that can then be exploited and explored - rather than being an expert in one thing. The main thing that drives my choice of medium or process is what I have available around me. When you are a young artist with relatively limited resources its useful to use constraints as a creative opportunity.

RJ: What's next for Baden Pailthorpe? What are you working on right now?

BP: I've just finished a new work in my MQ-9 Reaper series, and I am looking to do some projects in VR and 360 video using Oculus and other platforms next year.

Baden Pailthorpe is represented in Sydney by Martin Browne Contemporary. You can see an interview with him on his Artist in Residence at the Australian War Memorial below.

Tobias Messiter