The robots are taking over Hull!

Published: Thursday 30th November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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If you’ve been into the City Centre recently, you may have noticed the invasion of big orange robot arms.

We caught up with Jason Bruges of Jason Bruges Studio to find out what these strange objects represent and why they are invading Hull for a special event called Where Do We Go From Here?

What can we expect from this fantastic activity?

Where Do We Go From Here? is a really daring artwork. It is a demonstration of the studio’s bravery and innovation, which sees over twenty robots descend into Hull’s Old Town to perform an array of dazzling choreographies with light, shadow and sound.

You can see colossal structures over six metres high with upcycled industrial robot arms residing on the tops. The movements are fluid and oscillate between pre-programmed industry and performance and almost look thoughtful, which gives the robots a playful inquisitive character.

We have tried to imbue the installation with personality to reflect the robot’s prior life. Before taking part in this performance, they were used to make cars!

The installation brings something totally new and unexpected into the urban landscape. A citywide artwork brings with it a total transformation of space. As Hull’s inhabitants co-exist with the robots for over a month, we can’t wait to see the effect.

Each night, as the dormant cast awakes, we hope that the Hullensian observers anticipate a positive future as their temporary companions shine light on the streets and squares to celebrate where we are now and ask where we might be going.

It sounds like an incredible installation, where did the idea come from?

Our inspiration is rooted in Hull’s history as a maritime hub. We immediately picked up on themes of navigation and connectivity, which are locally rooted but also internationally relevant. The installation references marine communication methods, such as lighthouse optics, telegraphy and signalling; however, advanced technology elevates them into the 21st century and even the realm of sci-fi.

What do you think the future holds for Hull after 2017?

I have no doubt that the future is bright for Hull. This year’s activity has seen some unbelievable art and cultural events brought to the city, which will propel Hull into the future.

What is clear is Hull’s appetite for innovation and risk taking, which are at the heart of creativity and learning. One of Hull’s greatest recent achievements is its progressive approach to green energy, which sets a benchmark for other regions both nationally and internationally.

This year UK City of Culture has put Hull on the cultural map and I am confident it will continue to be celebrated as a centre for art and industry. Hull thinks creatively. We were really excited when they commissioned this piece.

There is an atmosphere of aspiration and curiosity that I’m sure will drive a pioneering and inventive future.

You can experience Where Do We Go From Here? at Beverley Gate (outside Princes Quay), the Museums Quarter on the High Street and in Trinity Square from Friday 1 December until Sunday 7 January. It is open every day between 5pm and 9pm except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. For more information, please visit the Hull 2017 website.

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Published: Thursday 30th November 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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