Spiders Run Amok At Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

By Caroline Lewis | 02 March 2006
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photo of a spider shaped robot made of white rods

The Autotelematic Spider Bots 2006, artificial life Installation By Ken Rinaldo and Matt Howard. Photo: Matt Howard

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens will be overrun by some science-fiction-style spiders during the AV Festival 06.

Giant robotic spiders created by American artist Ken Rinaldo will be released in the exhibition gallery between March 2 and 12 2006, as part of the UK’s largest festival of digital art, music, film, games and new media.

“The Autotelematic Spider Bots will be able to ‘see’ members of the public with sensors,” explained artist Ken Rinaldo, “communicate with each other, and one will project what it can see onto the gallery walls.”

He said Sunderland Museum was a fitting place for his arachnid creations because of its natural collections, which include live creatures, insects and real spiders.

photo of a girl playing with the robot

More friendly than real spiders. Photo: Matt Howard

“We are very excited to have the Spider Bots at the museum,” said Juliet Horsley, curator of Sunderland Museum. “Each spider will be around 30 centimetres high and 30 centimetres wide and it is very much an interactive exhibition which I am sure will be a fascinating experience for everyone involved.”

As well as projecting images onto the gallery walls the robots will talk to each other and the public with audible chirping sounds.

The exhibition is one of the highlights of the AV Festival, which will include more than 90 exhibitions, screenings, concerts and other events across NewcastleGateshead, Sunderland and Middlesborough. The festival has been going since 2003 and will now become a regular bi-annual event in the North East.

Ken Rinaldo is renowned for blurring the boundaries between the organic and the inorganic in his interactive installations, which have been shown around the world.

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