World cup is on and I even find my self occasionally following a game with some pretended interest. What I am more interested really is the movement and the strategies. There is not much space and most of the points of orientation are moving elements. However rough positions are allocated together with assigned tasks.
There is a lot of important talking about options and chances, tactics and plans. It sounds all very sophisticated and important. But what is it in the end, 23 guys chasing the ball.
This however is random enough to generate some distinct pattern. of course random in this context means the characteristic mixture of task oriented inventive behaviour as we also observe it in everyday movement. In a very interesting blogpost Rob from Mammoth has summarised his thoughts on the similarities between football and urban movement tactics - as diagram traced on exported landscape.
Image by urbanTick /Adidas' Match Tracker, the heath map view - game Chelsea vs International.
Analysis of the game in real time is this year available from multiple sources. Addis offers the 'match tracker' or you can check out visualsports.com. The adidas tool offers a graphic replay feature that based on a movement record. It has a quite elaborated interface with an interactive time tracker below.
A very different approach took the artist David Marsh with his work 'Some People are on the Pitch'. He traced with pen and paper the movement of the players in the 1966 victory, the last time England won the World Cup. He also offers the selection of some particular traces, though. For example one plate is the movement of Martin Peters in the first half of the game, another is Charlton vs Beckenbauer over the full length of the match.
It is 'Created by mapping archive footage at 1/2 real speed, using the pitch markings and the stripes of the cut grass as a coordinate system, the work follows the movement of each player against time, on and off the ball, as they move across the 'field' of play throughout the full 90 minutes, plus extra time.
The recorded information is then coded through a system of line type, weight and colour to allow the narrative of the recorded information to be represented and read graphically, producing a work simultaneously latent with an immense level of information, and one seemingly abstract in its aesthetic.'
Image by David Marsh / 'Alan Ball - Full Mach' Working drawing, Ink on trace.
Details via Mammoth and Infostetics. Other football drawings can be found via SwissMiss.