Welcome to Adnyamathanha Yarta


Adam Goodes

Angie Abdilla

Baden Pailthorpe

Ngapulara Ngarngarnyi Wirra

(Our Family Tree)


Every AFL game Adam Goodes played, his body was tracked 10 times per second via a global network of satellites and a small device on his back.


Adam's phenomenal spatial awareness and ability to see and predict patterns within time and space is derived from an alternate world view.

This is expressed through a deep connection to Country and heightened spatial awareness.

When Adam played at his best, he felt guided by his ancestors. As such his vast dataset is culturally significant.

Yet this significance has remained invisible until now…

This exhibition reveals the cultural significance of Adam's data through the Adnyamathanha kinship system. This system is based on two Moieties (blood groups) with specific characteristics: Ararru (North Wind) and Mathari (South Wind). Adam belongs to the Ararru Moiety.

The Ararru (North Wind) and Mathari (South Wind) in the exhibition space were recorded on Adnyamathanha Yarta as they swirled around the Wirra (tree). The wind moves through this space via speakers on the North and South side.

Inside the Wirra, Adnyamathanha Elder Uncle Terrence Coulthard tells the Adnyamathana Muda of Ikara (Wilpena Pound) in the Adnyamathanha Yura Ngawarla (language).

You can also hear the voice of Adam Goodes echoing key sections of this Muda in Ngawarla (language), with footage of Adnyamathanha Yarta (Country) playing on two screens.

We trained a machine learning model to translate this key Adnyamathanha Muda into the sound of the Ararru (North) and Mathari (South) winds by programming their characteristics into an algorithm.

This materialises the connection between Country and Kinship systems through an embodied experience enabled by the cultural initiation of machine learning.

In order to symbolically return Adam's AFL data to Country, he chose (and was chosen by) a significant Wirra (tree - pronounced 'widda') on Adnyamathanha Yarta (Country).

Both Adam's AFL data and the 3D scan of the Wirra have a three-dimensional form called a point cloud.

In our artwork, Adam's data sits underneath and around the Wirra. Both are animated with a wind that simulates the Ararru (North Wind) and Mathari (South Wind) of the Adnyamathanha Kinship system.

The Wirra in this artwork is at least 500 years old.

The age of this tree escapes western techniques of dating - very old Red River Gums like this one hollow out from the inside, so the oldest wood can't be used to estimate age.

This tree represents a physical connection to Adam's Adnyamathanha ancestors who lived the old way next to this Wirra until approximately 1930.

This artwork shows the interconnection and interrelationship of Yarta (Country) and Kinship systems developed over millennia.

It invites you to experience Adnyamathanha culture with your body, it asks you to listen to the lyrical beauty of Adnyamathanha Ngawarla (language) and the sound of the wind.

And it asks you to consider the sophistication of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Systems.

Adam Goodes, Angie Abdilla & Baden Pailthorpe would like to thank:

The Adnyamathanha Yarta, Adnyamathanha Elders and ngarngarnyi (families) for sharing, teaching and providing guidance with the Yura Muda and Yura Ngawarla.

In particular:

Aunty Glenise Coulthard AM (Arraru)

Uncle Terrence Coulthard (Mathari)

Uncle Kinglsey Coulthard (Mathari)

Kristian Coulthard (Arraru)

Umeewarra Media Radio Station, Port Augusta

Dataset: Adam Goodes

Audio & video recording on Country: Angie Abdilla, Baden Pailthorpe, James Alberts

Drone piloting on Country: James Alberts, Baden Pailthorpe

3D scanning on Country: Baden Pailthorpe

Composer/sound design: James Brown

Machine learning: Rupert Parry

Video editor & language recording/engineering: John Gillies

Project Manager: Eloise Hastings

Web designer/developer: Mitchell Whitelaw

AFL Match Vision: Ian Weeding and the AFL