In the small hours of the next five nights, things that absolutely will not go bump in the night will be roaming the galleries of
After Dark will use four robots - which move at surprising speed despite looking like the love children of a close encounter between a coat rack and a standard lamp - to let the public experience the eerie thrill of visiting the sleeping art. It has won the first IK Prize for a project that widens access to art through digital technology.
Created by design studio The Workers, After Dark was rescued from oblivion by
Burton said she was struck by the "playfulness and technical ambition" of the project, and enchanted that the team had delivered on every count. She expects virtual visitors to be gripped by the idea of sharing such an unusual experience. "After all, who hasn't dreamed of wandering through a museum, alone, at night?"
When the project goes live, at
Although only a few people will be able to operate them - with the design team on hand backstage to intervene or cut short a session in case of disaster or dullness - anyone will be able watch their progress via live stream.
On a trial run in the clumsy hands of this operator, a robot came heart-stoppingly close to a
The project is a world first, and a more expert pilot test-drove one of the robots at the weekend:
After the gallery closed on Saturday, Hadfield logged on from his
If the finished robots seem like creatures from outer space, it's not surprising: they were built with help from RAL Space, which works with the
Each robot is mounted on a circular wheeled base that can move in any direction, with two slender stalks supporting a tilting "head" equipped with two cameras and LED lights, running on batteries which will power them for the entire five-hour session until
The tilting heads mean that the robots can be directed to illuminate any painting or sculpture, and the team is waiting with interest to see which works prove most popular with the public.
The Workers won a pounds 10,000 prize and a pounds 60,000 development budget - and both the gallery and the design team are already wondering what the robots could do next.
After Dark broadcasts from
Lights, cameras, action
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