In an innovative move – a first for British art galleries, Hastings Contemporary (formerly the Jerwood Gallery) is offering robot tours of the gallery. Hastings Contemporary has teamed up with Bristol Robotics Lab to use telepresence robot technology to showcase the gallery to their audience.
In this time of social lockdown, members and audiences old and new now have the opportunity to continue to visit the gallery and experience the modern and contemporary art in the gallery, via the Double, a two-wheeled videoconferencing 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 impressive views over the historic Stade fishing beach and English Channel.
Situated on the dramatic seafront of Europe’s oldest fishing beach, Hastings Contemporary champions modern and contemporary art, hosting several exhibitions a year, alongside talks, workshops, community events and live music. The Hastings Contemporary is a registered charity and all proceeds are put back into the gallery, educational programme and community outreach projects.
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’s experience using the telepresence robot will also help to deepen scientific knowledge and understanding of the technical, social and organisational issues regarding use of such technology and inform future research and development.