After Dark, the winning project in the inaugural IK Prize is revealed at Tate Britain
After Dark: roaming robot taking in Sir Jacob Epstein’s The Visitation, 1926
© Alexey Moskvin
Chris Hadfield in Toronto, former International Space Station commander, is first person to navigate the After Dark robots
URL – afterdark.tate.org.uk
After Dark, the winning project of the inaugural IK Prize 2014 was unveiled today at Tate Britain. The Prize, supported by the Porter Foundation, is a new annual prize presented by Tate which celebrates digital creativity and seeks to widen access to art through the application of digital technology.
After Dark has been created by design studio The Workers (Tommaso Lanza, Ross Cairns and David Di Duca) who were inspired to re-create the experience of being alone in the gallery after dark using digital technology. This online experience invites people all over the world to view Tate Britain’s galleries online at night through four camera-equipped robots roaming the gallery spaces, connecting audiences with art in the BP Walk Through British Art. Live online for five consecutive nights from 13 August, the project will allow the public to view the robots on their journey through the artworks and a number of visitors will be able to remotely control their movements. A first-person, real-time video feed and live commentary will be streamed to all visitors on the After Dark website. This is the first project of its kind in a museum or gallery setting.
The robots are equipped with lights, a camera, sensors and motors allowing them to sneak through the galleries in the dark. An onboard computer streams their vision through the internet in real-time and responds to commands. The Robots have been created in collaboration with RAL Space (who work alongside the UK Space Agency – UKSA), a world-leading centre for the research and development of space exploration technologies.
Colonel Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station, who performed a rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity while aboard the station has been the first person to navigate the robots, doing this from his home in Toronto.
Members of the public will be able to log onto afterdark.tate.org.uk on 13, 14, 16, 17 August from 22.00 until 03.00. On 15 August, there is an evening for children to operate the robots at a slightly earlier time of 19.30 until 00.30.
The Workers said: ‘We were thrilled to be part of this ambitious and open initiative. After Dark combines behind-the-scenes intrigue with a sense of exploration. The project will give people all over the world a unique experience of 500 years of British art. Our experience of making the project has been rewarding, challenging and made possible thanks to the close and enthusiastic collaborations we have had with various teams across Tate Britain.’
Jane Burton, Creative Director, Tate Media commented: ‘The Workers’ inspired robotic takeover of Tate Britain gets right to the heart of what the IK prize stands for, coupling oustanding digital creativity with the imaginative use of technology to bring art to ever wider audiences. Their proposal really captured the jurors’ attention with its playfulness and technical ambition, and they have delivered on every count. We’re looking forward to introducing new visitors from all over the world to Tate Britain. After all, who hasn’t dreamed of wandering through a museum, alone, at night?’
After Dark was chosen by a panel of industry experts from a shortlist of four proposals. The winner was given a prize of £10,000 and a £60,000 development budget to realise a project that will connect audiences with the Tate collection.
The Workers is a digital product design studio founded in 2011 by Tommaso Lanza and Ross Cairns after leaving the Royal College of Art. The studio has produced work for, among others, Bibliothéque Design, Jason Bruges, APFEL, the London Olympics and the Berlin Natural History Museum. Their work spans multiple disciplines, from product design to web through native applications for iOS as well as bespoke visual applications for exhibitions and interactive installations.
The IK Prize, named in memory of the philanthropist Irene Kreitman, celebrates creative talent in the digital industry. Supported by the Porter Foundation, the Prize is presented by Tate to a team, company or individual for an original idea that uses the power of digital technology to connect Tate’s collection of 500 years of British Art to a wider audience.