Remote Controlled Robots To Roam Tate Britain Gallery After Hours So Web Users Can Peek At The Art

Who doesn’t want to hang out in the museum after hours? London’s Tate Britain art gallery houses a treasure trove of great works from Hogarth, Gainsborough and Whistler, to Bacon and Freud.

The gallery gets more than a million visitors a year passing through its lofty halls during opening hours, but after dark its passageways fall silent and the works fade from public view.

That’s going to change next summer thanks to the inaugural winners of a prize aimed at expanding access to Tate’s collection via digital means.

Visitors to the Tate’s website will be able to remotely control robots that are left to roam the galleries after opening hours, using torches (and cameras) on the bots to view the works remotely, and in a new light. 

The winning idea of the 2014 iK Prize is the concept of digital product design studio, The Workers, and is called, aptly enough, After Dark. The studio won £10,000 in prize money for the concept, and a further £60,000 to take the project from prototype to ready-for-public-use.

“We’re not trying to give you this perfect representation of the art,” says one third of The Workers, Tommaso Lanza, in the group’s shortlist video (embedded below). “It’s giving the art a different angle, and different light — both figuratively and literally.”

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales was on the judging panel for the prize, announcing the winner yesterday.