London Knowledge – Film (2020)

The ‘Knowledge of London’ is the in-depth study of over 300 London street routes and thousands of places of interest. These must be completely memorized by any aspiring driver who wants a license to operate in London’s black taxi cab profession.

This short film features two interviews with London taxi drivers who recount their experience of ‘doing the Knowledge’. Accompanying these interviews are animated Lidar scans of London. Lidar is a laser-based 3D mapping technology used by self-driving cars to see and navigate.

The film journeys through the minds of taxicab drivers, through 3D scans of London streets, and through what might be lost when a centuries old profession adapts to the prospect of automation.

This project is supported by equipment loans from Prof Mat Disney, UCL Geography and NERC NCEO.

The initial development of the film was supported by the SPACE ‘Art and Technology’ residency programme. A prototype version was exhibited at SPACE as part of the Outcome Exhibition in April (2018) and at Brighton Digital Festival (2019).