Matt Copson (b.1992 Oxford UK) lives and works in London, UK, and Los Angeles, USA. Copson works in multidisciplinary, hybrid forms, drawing on popular culture, from urban legends, folklore and mediaeval fables to comic strips, cartoons, grunge and punk. His dreamlike, sometimes comical world, tinged with dark humour and irony, is filled with fantastical characters and anthropomorphic figures. Generally expressed in the form of a monologue, these characters are perceived through perpetual questioning as to their state or present situation, always hard to pin down and impossible to resolve.
The moving-image piece Age of Coming is the second act in what Copson describes as a three-act ‘laser opera’ (produced 2020–21). The opera stars an adorably cartoonish baby who we see progress through stages of development as he encounters the sensorial world for the first time. Copson wrote the lyrics of the libretto and drew the animation, which was then translated via computer software into coloured lines that are projected from nightclub lasers. The words that emanate unnervingly from the mouth of the baby are sung by a boy soprano.
Loosely inspired by Daniel Stern’s 1990 self-help bestseller Diary of a Baby, which saw the author guide parents using the imagined first-person voice of an infant, the atmosphere of Age of Coming fluctuates between disarming cuteness and extreme anxiety. The viewer witnesses the baby encountering objects in the world and starting to experiment. Seemingly overcome by a hunger to take apart and consume everything that surrounds him – a chair, a gun, an aeroplane, a thunderstorm – the child demands more and more and grows quickly. Soon the lasers themselves are unable to contain him, and the image explodes into a swirling tumult of light.