Max Hattler's laser light graphics

Roll by the Kings Cross Filling Station in London this week, and you can take in a stunning laser light motion graphic sequence created by the experimental artist Max Hattler. With the animation developed in Flash, the imagery was projected through a 10x15 metre 'hydro wall' that was sprayed up out of the Regents Canal, which is just outside the venue. The impressive dusk show was captured from multiple angles then edited down to form the atmospheric film you can view below.

Sponsored by Vauxhall Motors, and with music by Eduardo Noya Schreus, the graphics will remind you a little bit of the '80s arcade classic Asteroids, or even the rudimentary laser shows that illuminated '90s raves. But there's more to it than that. Hattler was also influenced by the experimental German-American filmmaker Oskar Fischinger. "As I was developing the work, I was thinking 21st century Oskar Fischinger, but also Tron, Asteroids, and yes, lasers," says Hattler. "This came mainly out of wanting to create a piece that is highly energetic, and works well with the water screen, so it was somehow logical to work with glowing lines on a black background."

Four stills from the Flash video that was projected onto the water.

Four stills from the Flash video that was projected onto the water.

Entitled X, the film has some strong concepts behind it too. There appear to be relationships between the shapes as they move. Some spark off one another, others overlap or meld together - it's the notion of geometric choreography. However the location also influenced Hattler's thinking. Kings Cross Filling Station - aka KXFS - is now a bar and pizza joint, but it was once a working petrol station.

Hattler continues: "The starting point for me was oil and water, referencing Regent's Canal and the history of KXFS as a petrol station. Oil and water are essentially opposing elements struggling for balance. This then developed more broadly into ideas around visualising the balancing of different elements within a system. The end result of the work is completely abstracted into the kinetic relationships of basic shapes, the movement and energy balances of geometric systems."

To turn the ideas into reality, Hattler worked with animators using Adobe Flash. He produced key frames and directions on the kind of motion he wanted, and they'd create it, with some fine-tuning from the director along the way.

X is the first of six cultural projects in the Vauxhall Ampera Season, showing at KXFS in North London over the coming weeks.

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