I went down to Tenderpixel gallery a few weeks ago to have a look at Max Hattler‘s first solo London exhibition. It’s called Shift and combines science-fiction themes abstracted and explored through colour, movement and shape. The stop-motion animation doesn’t run for very long but so worth taking time out to catch it. I sat through three loops of it at the gallery; each time, through its sound, music and moving image, it brought on a heightened level of intensity as the film went on.
So intrigued was I that I caught up with Max over email.
1. Why did you go into filmmaking and animation? What was your childhood like?
I think I ended up working with moving image as a result of an affinity to both visual and sonic media – rather than it stemming from an interest in cinema and storytelling. My father is a musician, my mother used to work as a graphic designer, and my godfather is an abstract painter. I went to a Waldorf School – they encourage creative expression through a wide range of methods such as sculpture, gardening and knitting. They pretty much despise television, and by extension, film. All of this might have something to do with how I ended up here.
2. Why are you drawn to abstraction?
I’m not so much interested in abstraction per se. It’s more about using abstraction and abstractedness, about fluctuating between abstraction and figurative representation, to enable a different kind of viewer engagement that is more open-ended. I am interested in how graphic shapes, patterns and loops can be used as a way of storytelling, which can be layered, parallel, disjointed, or cyclical.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
In no particular order: physics and metaphysics, wallpapers and carpets, mosaics and mandalas, painting and photography, sculpture and architecture, lights and shadows. Abstract film, slow motion, motion graphics, graphic design, designer drugs, food, fashion, friends and people in general. Also minerals, stones, planets, geometry, geography, microscopy, war and religion. As well as books, boredom, excitement, stress, panic, music, sound, noise, silence and, of course, travelling.
4. Tell me a little more about Shift. Where and how did you get the idea for it?
The theme of a dimensional shift is a progression of sorts from my works Heaven & Hell and Sync. They all deal with metaphysics and ideas on the overlap between sacred geometry and spirituality, looking at existence, physics, time and universe as a multi-dimensional machine that can be represented in an abstracted way. Animate Projects approached me about making a film for Channel 4 with them on the subject of 2012 Apocalypse, and I immediately jumped at the chance. After the Tenderpixel show, Shift will be broadcast on Channel 4, and then shown online at randomacts.channel4.com and www.animateprojects.org.