Published in TRACEY | journal
Drawing Knowledge
May 2012
Drawing and Visualisation Research
Brendan Fletcher a
University of Salford, UK
[email protected]
[email protected]
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
If a drawing is a trace of a gesture or a performance, then how might that trace manifest
itself? Should we insist, drawing upon convention, that a drawing demands a self
conscious understanding of its own purpose? How might a performance/event transcend
the everyday and demand we begin to read and understand it in altogether different
terms? In this short paper I want to examine a passage of play from a football match – a
goal, recorded by TV cameras and broadcast to the world - to see if it can be examined as a
cultural product and subject to aesthetic scrutiny.
The football match in question was the World Cup Final: Italy v. Brazil, 21st June 1970.
There were 100,000 spectators in the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City and millions more at
home for the first World Cup Final to be broadcast by satellite, live and in colour; a
flickering analogue signal screened in a ratio of 4:3, and framed by a rented box. Brazil
won 4 – 1. It was Brazil’s third victory and it led them to win the Jules Rimet trophy
outright. However, football purists remember it for another reason. The match witnessed,
arguably, the greatest goal ever scored. Carlos Alberto, the Brazilian team captain struck a
shot that continues to send supporters into rapture. It is this short passage of play,
represented on television that I wish to examine - from dead ball to a goal in a mere 40
The goal is memorable because it was the culmination of a move that involved all but two
of Brazil’s outfield players; only Everaldo and Piazza failed to contribute directly. It is a
team goal. Yet, it is notable too for an insouciant dribble by Brazil’s 20 year old midfielder
Clodoaldo through four Italian players. It is this arrogant, ostentatious, virtuoso dribble and
the way in which it inscribes his individuality on a team game that captures my interest. It
is a gestural flourish, an authorial signifier. Here like every graffito ever scribbled, every
self ingratiating tag declaring ‘I was here’, it appears to celebrate the touch and presence
of the artist.
Does this television production, displayed on a screen within the home, extract this
performance/gesture out of its social sphere and place it within another cultural arena?
Can we subject it to aesthetic scrutiny? Can we then begin to read Clodoaldo's dribble as a
drawing? Can we read it as a line? This is clearly problematic. Clodoaldo is no artist,
neither the interchange of passes that lead to the goal, nor his dribble, is an inscribed mark
at all; not even, as is the nature of drawing, can it be said to be a mnemonic to fend off
forgetfulness. It is a footballer with a ball, but a record exists nevertheless, one that
documents this celebratory act and, I believe, it does bear further examination
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
In this paper I would like to establish this recorded fragment of this football match as a
formal cultural product and outline a taxonomy of ‘TV football’ spectatorship, before
examining the image(s) in terms of its linearity. 1
The goal: Alberto’s goal came late in the game. The game was already won. Brazil were
3:1 ahead. On screen Brazil attack the goal to our left. The action begins with an Italian
throw–in on the near side touchline deep in their own half. Juliano takes the throw in and
receives a return pass. He runs with the ball at his feet and the camera pans to the right
following the player and the ball. The touchline is just visible and frames the bottom of the
screen. He survives a challenge but runs into defensive re-enforcements and is
dispossessed by Brazil’s Tostão, tracking back, who sweeps the ball away.
The ball is played back deeper into the Brazilian defence and the camera tracks further to
the right before an interchange of passes, a laconic pinball exchange of one touch football.
The ball arrives at the feet of the young Brazilian midfielder Clodoaldo. He is framed in the
centre of the screen against the flat green ground. There is an Italian player in shot to our
left and approaching. Clodoaldo drifts effortlessly past him. The camera pans left. A line
of blue shirted Italian players emerge on screen. They form a line vertically from the top of
the screen to the bottom; a defensive wall. Clodoaldo faces his second challenge. He
momentarily loses control and he has to stretch before, with a single touch, he skips past
him only to run directly into a third. He drops his shoulder, feints and performs an
audacious step-over – Clodoaldo doesn’t even play the ball, the Italian player is left
reeling– before then turning back towards the touch line he dribbles past a fourth. He
takes a split second to compose himself before resuming a forward offensive. Clodoaldo's
movements are fluid and balletic. This flourish is a humiliation for the Italian players; their
attempts to win the ball back border on slapstick, It is an enthralling solo worthy of
applause and should have been no more than a cameo at the end of a game.
However, play continues. Clodoaldo plays the ball to Tostão. The camera pans to the left.
There is a brief exchange of passes - in triangles - before Rivelino plays a through-ball to
Jairzinho on the left wing. Jairzinho has to improvise and readjust his body shape to
receive the ball. Jairzinho moves toward the penalty area and centres. The receiving
player is out of shot until the camera pans right and reveals Pele as its target. He waits,
momentarily, Tostão emerges into the frame (he has run the length of the pitch and he
stands in front of Pele with his back to goal); he points to his left and indicates to Pele to
play the ball to his right. Pele doesn't even look in the direction of the pass he plays into
space. The camera tracks the ball as it moves to the right and once more we are unaware
of its recipient. Pele begins to stroll, nonchalantly toward the goal even before the ball
The official BBC coverage of the match is available on DVD. See Soccer Classics, Brazil v Italy 1970, The World Cup Final Mexico,
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
reaches its intended target. Carlos Alberto runs into the frame from the right at a
thunderous pace and strikes the ball. The ball is struck cleanly, as crisply as the action of
finger against thumb, releasing its tension, as it trigger kicks and fires; both his feet leave
the ground as he strikes through the ball and it rockets into the net. Tostão follows the ball
into the goal and strikes the ball as it rebounds off the net. It is an emphatic declamatory
full stop.
It is important to note that the recorded television pictures offer a different perspective
from that of the spectators attending the game, each and everyone of whom enjoyed a
different view - behind the goal, in the quadrant, at pitch level, the first tier, the second tier,
- and all of whom witnessed the action in real time, unmediated and unedited within the
The presentation of a TV football match can be seen to be a formally constructed work.
From the opening credits, the TV anchor, his expert panel of analysts, the commentator and
co-commentator (all invariably male), the aerial ‘establishing’ shot of the stadium to the
placing of the cameras and the repertoire of shots, the game is a mediated event. It may
be that as Tom Ryall argues, the mediation is ‘closely constrained by the character of the
event to be relayed’, but it is not a ‘raw’ event’ (Ryall, 1975).
The visual conventions of televised football have evolved over a number of years and owe,
as Gary Whannel has observed, much to the conventions of journalistic reportage and
realist cinema (Whannel, 1992). The camera positions, the long lenses and shifting
angles - flattening the space, the live edit, the use of close up, action replay and slow
motion (the latter two introduced for the first time at the 1966 World Cup Finals in England)
constitute a cultural practice2. It is a practice that has evolved slowly from the earliest live
broadcasts of amateur fixtures by the BBC in the 30's and 40's3.
Roy Peters argues that television coverage of sport aims for a degree of ‘verisimilitude’ and
this is exhibited in two key ways (Peters, 1976) Firstly TV coverage is concerned with
providing a ‘window onto the world’ and the camera aims to reproduce, as best it can, the
perception of the human eye, and secondly by positioning the camera at a vantage that he
characterises as ‘an ideal, privileged spectator’s position’.
The placing of cameras in the 1960’s/1970’s was due in part to the contingencies,
exigencies and logistical limitations of the stadia (built before the advent of TV). The ideal
2 Source: Chiarsi, Fabio, (2006), When Football Went Global: Televising the 1966 World Cup, Historical Social Research, Vol. 31-2006No. 1, 42-54
3 The BBC Written Archives (WAC) contain very little information on the evolution of football on television. There are, however, a small
number of reports on the trials and tribulations of the first Outside Broadcast tests at amateur fixtures in the 1930’s and 1940’s
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
‘television’ spectator enjoyed (and continues to do so) a perfect view from high in the stand
upon the centre line. The images picture the match from one side of the pitch from a high
gantry offering a good vantage – a standard procedure lest we become confused by the
shift in camera angles from one side of the pitch to the other (the 180° rule); we like to
follow the action with a team attacking the goal to the left or the right during a match
alternating only at half time. Camera movement in the late 1960's/1970's was limited to
pans and tilts and incorporated the use of zoom. This further re-enforced the suggestion
that the position of the camera was as fixed as the ‘privileged spectator’. This is an
aestheticised experience.
Tom Ryall offered a taxonomy of camera shots, and identifies a primary shot and ancillary
shots including pitch side hand held camera shots, behind the goal shots and aerial shots
(all of which still remain the favoured practice albeit there are many more additions to the
repertoire in today’s TV coverage) (Ryall,1975). He points out this ‘primary image’ from the
camera positioned on the gantry over the half way line, has limitations in providing the
context for the whole game, ‘The whole context would be the complete pitch but this is not
possible as it would make for incomprehensible, poorly defined long shots. A section of the
pitch, therefore, has to function as the context for the action though this section will, at
times, exclude crucial parts of the context such as players off-camera shouting for the ball,
taking up positions and so on, making an important contribution to the action’. An
overview of a team’s tactical positioning, therefore, is unavailable to the television
spectator and players move in and out of the frame in a continuum. As Whannel notes, the
‘spatial compression, temporal elongation and repetition’ employed by TV broadcasts only
serve to emphasise ‘points of action and body contact to the detriment of the overall
geometry of the game’ (Whannel, 1992).
By the 1966 finals in England the BBC had firmly established a 4 camera unit (3 following
the action/1 for interviews). The images of the 1970 World Cup Final with which we are
most familiar are the ‘clean feed’ pictures broadcast by Telesistema Mexicano and
distributed via satellite for BBC/ITV. Telesistema Mexicano had been critical of the BBC’s
1966 coverage arguing against too many close ups and the use of vidicon cameras 4 .
Telesistema had 7 cameras at the Aztec Stadium that day5.
However, the fragment of film that records the goal is interesting in so far as it is filmed by
a single camera that pans, tilts and zooms; but there is no edit. This sequence would be
unlikely to be filmed in this fashion by a TV broadcaster today. Indeed, this 40 second
4 The criticism of the BBC broadcast of the World Cup 1966 is contained in an internal BBC report: World Cup Operation Report,
prepared by Alan Chivers (BBC Executive Producer) & David Ovenden (BBC Co-ordinating Engineer), September 1966. BBC WAC.
5 The number of cameras in the Aztec Stadium is detailed in a FIFA/Telesistema contract of 22nd October 1969: BBC WAC O.A/4017
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
sequence without a single edit was an extended sequence and a feature of Telesistema’s
This recording has been replayed time and time again. Every four years, at each World Cup
competition, television broadcasters retrieve it from the vaults to identify the apotheosis of
the ‘beautiful game’. From the Italian throw-in to Alberto’s emphatic pile-driver of a shot, it
has become possible to identify the goal as a filmed and mediated event, as a formal
cultural product. It has become iconic.
Whannel has noted the way in which the pleasure derived from watching a sport can be
peculiarly resistant to analysis (Whannel, 1992). However, he suggests the time is right for
a taxonomy of sports spectatorship and visual pleasure and drawing upon textual analysis
proposes the following list: ‘familiarity with conventions (genre), identification, nationalism,
narrative and resolution, star watching, spectacle, immediacy, thrills and spills (the body in
jeopardy), physicality/sexuality/eroticism, gazing at the body.’
There is clearly pleasure to be derived from watching Brazil, the stereotype of Latin football,
its inspired samba and capoeria dance like rhythms was already firmly established.
Gilberto Freyre, the Brazilian anthropologist had acknowledged that the Brazilians play
Dionysian football rather than the Apollonian football favoured by European teams as early
as 19386. Dionysonian football was ‘florid’; for Freyre, it allowed for ‘improvising, diversity,
individual spontaneity’ in marked contrast to Apollonian football, which he dismissed as no
more than an ‘expression of a scientific method…in which personal action is mechanized
and subordinated to the whole’.
The familiarity with the genre, the framing, and the continuum are all crucial in our
understanding of the goal. But, the formal and aesthetic properties of screen
spectatorship also need addressing. They owe as much to the way we might begin to
discuss a painting. The screen flattens the image. The colour is saturated. The blue azure
shirts of the Italians and the deep yellow of the Brazilians are heightened against the rich
green ground of the pitch. Even the flickering analogue image contributes to our aesthetic
experience. And though the performance may be enacted on the ground in three
dimensions, the representation is presented on a screen in two dimensions. Much as
Jackson Pollock moved within his canvases laid on the floor in an intuitive improvised
performance before presenting the result, tilted, in an altogether different vertical plane, so
too, a football match presents the traces of a performance on one plane that were enacted
on another.
6 See, Freyre, Gilberto, (1945), Sociologica. Source: Maranhão, Tiago (2007), Apollonians and Dionysians: The Role of Football in
Gilberto Freyre’s Vision of Brazilian People, Soccer & Society, 8: 4, 510 – 523
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
However, can we read Clodoaldo’s dribble and Alberto’s goal as a line? The tracking of the
ball and the players movements have long been a feature of the ‘boot room’ and the use by
the manager/coach/tactician of chalkboard drawings sought to transcribe these
movements into a series of lines and scribbles to help the players grasp the geometry of
the game. The chalkboard was a feature of the sport until the advent of digital tracking
and the introduction of Prozone in the late 1990’s7. The mapping of lines over the pitch is
integral to the game.
Paul Klee took a line for a walk - famously, ‘an active line, moving freely, without goal, a
walk for a walk’s sake’ (Klee,1925). For Klee a line was essentially a static dot, a point. In
a football match, we can track the movement of the players and we have a ball, a point,
and we can track its movement; but here, it is one with a purpose – a goal, no less.
Professor Tim Ingold in Lines: A Brief History proposes a new discipline; the study of lines.
He offers a taxonomy of line in terms of threads, traces, ruptures and ‘ghostly lines’ (Ingold,
2007). The latter he contends can be considered to be ‘more visionary or metaphysical’.
We may perceive a line though it is not inscribed on any surface.
Ingold also discusses line, like Klee, in terms of a walk. He cites the Canadian writer Rudy
Wiebe in his examination of the Arctic who noted how the Inuit people comprehend their
movement across a terrain: ‘as soon as a person moves he becomes a line’ (ibid). The
Inuit perceive the landscape as ‘a mesh of intertwined lines rather than a continuous
surface’. Ingold describes their travel through this landscape as ‘wayfaring’ and
characterises it by finding a simile in a ‘freehand drawing’. He contrasts the notion of
wayfaring with that of transport. The British navy, for example plot a route across the
surface of the globe, as a series of point-to-point connections using latitude and
longitudinal points. This mode of travel is ‘destination-orientated’ (ibid).
Ingold goes on to discuss the cursive nature of handwriting and introduces the notion of
the ductus. Although the traces of the writer may form discontinuous lines– the pen leaves
the paper at intervals as it forms words – the movement of the hand is continuous and
‘tolerates no interruption’ (ibid). This movement is the ductus of handwriting. He quotes
Rosemary Sassoon: handwriting combines ‘the visible trace of a hand movement while the
pen is on the paper and the invisible trace of the movements when the pen is not in
contact with the paper’ (ibid). He also cites Leroi-Gourhan’s argument that ‘every trace left
by a dextrous movement of the hand is itself a line’. This notion of the ductus is important,
for, as Ingold points out, it is in the ‘reduction of the flowing movement of the ductus to a
succession of moments – that the process of linearization consists’. ‘In essence, there is
7 Prozone (established in 1998) is the leading digital performance analysis tool used by professional football clubs around the world. It
provides player tracking, distribution maps and statistics using a variety of 2D animation, graphs and video footage.
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
no trace, the connective points of each moment become virtual. The invisible trace of a
movement is itself a line.
Ingold's insights offer a means for approaching Clodoaldo’s dribble and the build up to
Alberto’s goal. Clodoaldo’s movements surely can, in these terms, be said to create lines,
he moves and he becomes a line, the ball moves and it too, becomes a line, but
Clodoaldo’s bodily movements - his dropped shoulder, his feint, his step-over, the way in
which he caresses the ball, to the left, to the right – create a ductus, a series of virtual
connections. The 2D recorded image on the television traces and fixes his movement in a
way that the experience of watching a game, live within the stadium cannot. We have a
drawing, a series of intertwined lines famed on the screen.
The lines that Clodoaldo creates, I propose, take on the character of a doodle. The doodle
is a scribble, an abstract line. It is an intuitive, improvised affirmation, an ill-disciplined line
that can communicate an expression of ennui or a wilful, wanton act of destruction, an
anti-academic snipe at authority. It meanders, aimless and without purpose, it appears to
be disengaged8. It seems to loiter and tease meaninglessly. It toys with the notion of the
cursive but celebrates its own illegibility. It describes nothing but itself, an abstract
antidote to the straight line. The straight line, by contrast, is a disciplining force, the ‘ruled’
line of rationale and modernist authority. It has become the signifier of purposeful
progress, the relentless, remorseless pursuit of reason. It is the sign of intellectual
authority and moral probity. A taxonomy of pictorial form would be hard pressed to find a
better form than the doodle that satirises rational and academic purpose.
Football is a game of attack and defence. The key to success is possession of the ball and
the ability to move it around. It achieves resolution when a goal is scored; its destination.
The ball moves indeterminately, albeit there is strategy and method. The ball travels from
point-to-point (player to player), the game has an inherent geometry, however, this point-topoint approach is broken when a player chooses to adopt the role of a wayfarer, and takes
possession and imposes his own individual flair upon this team game. Clodoaldo imposes
his wayfaring instincts upon the match, the freehand line, in a game where point to point
connections are the organizing force. He meanders, ill-disciplined in front of his own goal
and his virtuosity mocks the rigidity of the Italian defensive line which appears and
reappears at several points in the continuum and complements the laconic lines and
syncopated rhythms of his team mates. The goal leaves a trace on the screen and creates
a drawing, not a single line, but many lines, and in Clodoaldo's cameo, we have a doodle,
8 However, psychologists have pointed out that a doodle in the margin is not a disengaged act but a means of attempting to remain
engaged and retain concentration. See: Andrade, Jackie (2009), What Does Doodling Do? Applied Cognitive Psychology Wiley InterScience
( DOI: 10.1002/acp.1561
TRACEY | journal: Drawing Knowledge
an intuitive affirmation, an authorial signifier, a line on a walk, before a more rigid geometry
reasserts itself and achieves its emphatic exclamation and resolution in Alberto’s goal.
This then is one of the reasons why this goal, this short passage of play is held in such high
regard. It is not simply due to the terms of spectatorship that Whannel identifies, but also
because of the formal aesthetic properties that might best be characterised as linear, a
line among a network of lines. The goal is 'beautiful'; here is a goal that is a drawing and a
goal that transcends sport and achieves the status of art.
Ingold, Tim, (2007), Lines, A Brief History, Routledge
Klee, Paul. (1925), Pedagogical Sketchbook, (1968 Edition), Faber
Peters, Roy, (1976), Television Coverage of Sport, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies
Ryall, Tom, (1975) ‘Visual Style in ‘Scotland v. Yugoslavia’, Football on Television, Buscombe et al, BFI
Whannel, Gary, (1992) Fields in Vision: Television Sport and Cultural Transformation’, Routledge