Hastings Contemporary Launches Robot-Assisted Gallery Tours

In a UK first, Hastings Contemporary, an independent art gallery on the south coast, has responded to the current lockdown by teaming up with Bristol Robotics Laboratory to provide remote access to its exhibitions by utilising robotics technology. Members and audiences can continue to visit the gallery via the Double, a two-wheeled video-conferencing robot that can guide an operator and up to five people through real time tours of the gallery and its current exhibitions, as well as taking in the gallery’s superb views over Hastings’ historic Stade fishing beach and the English Channel.

Remote-controlled telepresence technology has not been used in a British gallery in this way before and Hastings Contemporary hopes to create a radical and exciting alternative to the traditional gallery experience by harnessing the next generation of robotic hardware.

The gallery is initially planning to offer robot-assisted guided tours of its current programme to visitors stuck at home, led by its curators and gallery team, as well applying the technology further to allow local artist-educators to facilitate interactive art lessons by piloting local children via the robot around the gallery.

The gallery is also planning further ways to use innovative technologies to allow people to benefit from its work while stuck at home, including developing a new online hub with the children of key workers in mind; creating bespoke digital art lessons and creative learning activities for many of the now closed schools in Hastings; and virtual 3D renderings of its three postponed Spring shows, Victor Pasmore: Line & Space, Stephen Chambers: The Court of Redonda, and Quentin Blake: We Live In Worrying Times.

To visit the gallery and be one of the first people in the UK to experience this technology, email info@hastingscontemporary.org.