Robots & Avatars at FACT
Last night I and my fellow champ, Ray, went to the preview of the Robots & Avatars exhibition currently showing at FACT.
Ray and I differ wildly on what we consider art. I love stuff you can mess about with, while Ray is more of a When Did You Last See Your Father kind of man. So while Robots & Avatars was more up my street, it didn’t stop Ray from playing about with the exhibits.
In the first room we came across Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s ADA. In the gallery blurb, this is described as an “interactive analogue installation, a physical coding experience.” In real life, it was a gigantic floating ball studded all round with pieces of coal. As we pushed the ball around, the coal created markings on the pristine white walls. This is my idea of a good time and I’d love to go back to see the results once this has been going for a while.
The next room was a bit more of a challenge. Containing Compass – a wearable machine that guides the wearer of it through the room. The test subject we saw, a guy called Frank, stood completely still wearing the device and looked slightly bewildered until some bright spark asked the eternal question, “Have you turned it on yet?”
Once it was turned on it span round in an alarming manner and controlled Frank around the room. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was or whether in fact, mankind will use it in the future for good or evil, but it was interesting to watch, especially when other people starting trying to stalk the half man/half machine around the room.
I almost missed Chris Sugrue’s Base 8, which was my personal favourite part of the exhibit. Using visual illusions and trickery, this room invites you to become part of the illusion. Giving it my very best Kate Bush Wuthering Heights moves, I managed to make my arms and face disappear into the background. Loads of fun.
There are lots of other lovely little things to discover in the exhibit, including a computer you can make yourself fly on.
It’s well worth a visit and you can certainly fit in Robots & Avatars with half an hour to spare in your lunch hour, after work, or while you’re out and about in town. The kids we saw there were having great time. Get down there and join in!
Robots & Avatars is showing from 16 March – 27 May
FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L14DQ