Baden Pailthorpe is inaugural Australian War Memorial artist in residence

19 July 2013

Cadence I-IV. Courtesy of the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney.
Cadence I-IV. Courtesy of the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney.

University of Sydney Faculty of Arts graduate, Baden Pailthorpe, has been announced as the inaugural Australian War Memorial artist in residence.

An award-winning digital artist, Pailthrope was represented in 12 national and international exhibitions last year.

Last December, he was invited to display his works in an exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where he had graduated the previous year with a Master of Fine Art (New Media) from l'Université Paris VIII (the University of Vincennes in Saint-Denis).

His digital works will be displayed in the War Memorial from July onwards to address the political and cultural impact of contemporary military technologies. We had a chat to him about his plans for the residency and his time at the University of Sydney.

What inspires you to create art that explores military technologies in the way that you do?

As a media artist, it's impossible to ignore the significant role of the military in the development of technologies. I think it's important to understand the languages and histories of the objects and tools we use every day, and how they shape the way we experience the world.

What was your reaction when you were asked to be theinaugural artist in residence for the Australian War Memorial?

I was very excited when I was first approached by the War Memorial. It's a tremendous opportunity and I'm really thrilled that the Memorial is incorporating new media into their programming. There is a real need for new perspectives on the forces that underpin conflict and its impact on culture and society.

What sorts of pieces will you be displaying during your time there?

There will be two of my video works from their collection on display, and I will also be researching and developing a new body of work specifically related to the Australian experience of conflict.

You studied French at Sydney, did you think at the time that you'd end up living in Paris and studying at a French university?

I had hoped to go to France on exchange during my BA, but unfortunately I didn't have the marks at the time. I was dying to go, so I committed myself to French and ended up moving to Paris once I graduated. Studying art at a French university was a rewarding and difficult experience.

Can you share a fond memory from your time at the University of Sydney?

I have many fond memories of my time at Sydney Uni. I held my first ever exhibitions at Sydney Uni, and I will always remember the generous support of the University of Sydney Union and the Verge Arts Festival. The catering for my first exhibition opening consisted of two cases of beer in a shopping trolley, kindly supported by the USU.

Image: Cadence I - IV. Courtesy of the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney.