Play Hard

2011, High Definition Video

1:54 Min

Commissioned by the Queensland Government for the Kick Off video program for Metricon Stadium/Gold Coast Suns


Sport is inherently absurd and futile. It is a relatively purposeless activity for the sake of leisure. Generally dangerous, it undermines the instinct of self-preservation, evidenced by the protective equipment and precautionary strapping that many athletes use. Adding to this absurdity is sport’s ability to strongly affect both athletes and spectators. Thus, the purposeless enjoyment of sport becomes something quite different, passion, and gives rise to the question of why humans so willingly suffer for the sake of enjoyment. In order to highlight this contradiction, the work takes the form of a slapstick montage—because physical comedy also uses suffering to generate pleasure. The video features a protagonist practicing and preparing for a game of Australian rules football. Referencing recent comedies and also the classic sports training montage, the protagonist’s acts highlight the risks and absurdities involved in professional AFL game play, and his relative incompetence highlights the admirable endurance and skill that is required to participate. Ultimately, the work is optimistic—it points out the strangeness of our behaviour while also reminding us of the enduring human quest for improvement.