Hull: Where Do We Go From Here?

It's all quiet in Hull's old town. Cloaked in the velvet darkness of the winter's evening, the Georgian facades slumber. The cobbles are free from footfall. Even the wind familiar to these historic streets is elsewhere; just a breeze tickles the dangling Christmas lights into animation. Then it starts: musical notes project, elongated into meditation-like chimes. Spotlights scour the square, as if search lights seeking movement. And the robotic arms start their eerie dance - writhing and looping like dancers to music.

This is the 'Where Do We Go From Here?' installation, a kinetic artwork combining robotics, light and sound in celebration of Hull's year as UK City of Culture. Usually deployed to build cars, the robotic arms look like dragons awakening from slumber as they stretch and swoop into motion on their pedestals. The effect is mesmerising, particularly against the backdrop of the historic city. As the performance continues, more passers-by gather, all of us staring up at the robots in awe.

Created by the Jason Bruges Studio to encourage individuals to reflect upon Hull's future, the dancing robots are situated at four locations across the city: Beverley Gate, where a duo act as 'gatekeepers'; Trinity Square, where a quartet peers down to their audience beneath 14th-century Hull Minster (Holy Trinity Church); Wilberforce House, where a sole robot appears to be in conversation with the statue of William Wilberforce; and Museum Gardens, where a quintet of robots wielding diamond-shaped mirrors are engaged in a dramatic presentation of modern dance.

The aim of the installation is to encourage people to think about what kind of place they want to live in and what role culture should play. For now, gazing up at these mighty creations as they cast spotlights into the midnight sky in manner of "Beam me up, Scotty", all I can do is marvel at their beauty. And I'd be the first to admit that I am TERRIFIED of robots and the role they could one day take in our society. So the artwork must be striking indeed. Find out more:
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