An Installation Lets You Play with Robots Long-Distance

Tomorrow: Manipulate robots in Atlanta from the comfort of your living room.

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Apr 26 2016, 3:55pm

All images courtesy of 9to5

Ever since HAL asserted, “I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that,” different artists have been expressing the anxiety associated with a phenomenon that would come to be known as “the Internet of Things.” This week at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, artists Andy Pruett (of interactive studio Second Story) and Nate Turley are creating an unique environment dedicated to one question: To what extent do we control the web, and to what extent does it control us?

Tomorrow, in association with interactive media space 9to5, the artists will code custom robots that respond to different objects, lights, and sensors within a controlled space at The Goat Farm. Once the artists code the bots, the project interface then becomes completely collaborative with both viewers who are physically in the space and viewers tuned in from 9to5’s public streaming site. The robots’ environment then becomes manipulated by these outside forces, and “the bots will be public through the site where people anywhere in the world can use to activate and modify elements in the space,” according to 9to5 representative Pablo Gnecco.

“For years, the majority of internet traffic is generated by non-human agents. These bots, AIs, and algorithms determine what we see and how we interact with the web. They help us find new music, serve us ads, and track our every move,” Turley’s artist statement reads.

“By 2020, an estimated 21 billion internet connected devices will invite these bots into our homes, cars, and workplaces. As the 'internet of things' goes from buzzword to reality, how will these intelligent machines affect our lives when they live in such close proximity?”

By merging these online and IRL spaces, a new form of interactive media is created, one that relies on the internet in spite of itself. Will you open the pod bay doors for Dave? To find out, just follow this link for 9to5.tv at 7 PM EST.

9to5 is a final competitor in the Field Experiment, a “public action competition presented by The Goat Farm Arts Center + Hambidge Center.” The winner of the Field Experiment will receive a $20,000 grant to execute their artistic vision in the fall of 2016. Learn more about the Field Experiment on their website here.

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