Interview with Max Colson
April 2018

A series of interviews with SPACE Art + Technology artists in residence

What were you doing in the year leading up to the residency? 
2017 was a pretty productive year for me: I researched and developed two short animated films which were received well and that was obviously very nice.

The first film, Construction Lines, animated the construction of a proposed three floor subterranean extension to a London billionaire’s mansion. The film explores what this ‘iceberg’ home might have looked like were it built. The animation draws on objection comments submitted on the planning application by surrounding neighbours that speculate on what might have gone on underground. I was really proud that this film was a joint winner of the Tenderflix/Tenderpixel Artist Video Prize and was also named the winner of the Fiction Short category at the Architecture Film Festival London. It’s since been screened at a number of European film festivals and will have its the USA Premiere in June 2018 at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.
The second film, The Green and Pleasant Land, was commissioned by Arebyte gallery for their London residency programme and is a post-Brexit animation. This film builds upon techniques I developed in Construction Lines and explores the UK as part real, part fictional constructed landscape. It draws directly on user comments found below videos and newspaper articles speculating on the symbolic value of the British countryside. It’s going to have its World film festival premiere at a great UK documentary film festival early summer 2018 (this is currently under press embargo so you’ll have to do some guessing)!
At the same time as the above, I was also working as a photographer and teaching on the MA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. It was a busy year.
What are you working on at the moment?
This year I’ve been focused on research and experiments with Lidar technology. Lidar is a technology in which space is 3D mapped and distances are calculated, radar style, using millions of laser beams. The visuals that are automatically produced by this process are mesmerizing. I’m incredibly grateful to have had a huge amount of support from researchers at UCL for this project.
Lidar is being used to map entire cities in anticipation of the autonomous car. During this residency, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the data communicates and it doesn’t about the city and the implications that this way of seeing will have for London. I eventually ended up producing a prototype film that compares a London understood through the Lidar scan with the knowledge that London’s black cab taxi drivers build over time. This film, entitled ‘London Knowledge’, was exhibited as part of the SPACE Art + Tech residency Showcase.
How did you find the residency?
It’s been a pleasure to be part of such a diverse group of peers who have all been working on such different things. I’m really interested in seeing what everyone does next. I found the residency was a really productive space in which to learn new skills, test things out and push myself. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting the space to add something new to their practice.
What’s coming next?
I’m delighted to be part of the London Creative Network programme at SPACE this year where I’d like to build on the work I’ve done using Lidar during the residency.
The 2018 film festivals, which have confirmed Construction Lines as part of their official programme, are:
Chicago Underground Film Festival, USA
Tilburg Architecture Film Festival, NL
Hamburg International Short Film Festival, GER

I’m in talks about a couple of group shows for later this year but nothing is finalized as of yet.
Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks to Kristina, Lauren, Kathrin and Levin for their help and support and the 2017/18 SPACE Art + Tech Residency crew for their inspiring work.
To all those people trying to keep a practice going while juggling lots of other things in London, I salute you.