Robot puppetry makes 'alien art' at the Tate Tanks

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Artist Ruairi Glynn has premiered a unique piece of installation art at Tate Modern in London, using a technique he calls "mechanical puppetry".

His "delta robot", normally found on factory production lines, has been redesigned to work as a piece of interactive, performance art.

Fitted on a 21-metre rail, it travels the length of the Tate Modern's new basement Tanks space, which opened at the end of July.

Part automated, it measures people's movements with Microsoft Kinect cameras, as found on the Xbox games console. When visitors come into its vicinity, the robot responds with a set of pre-programmed reactions, from playful movements, to dramatic withdrawal.

Mr Glynn is a lecturer in Interactive Architecture at the Bartlett School, University College London. He recruited a team of more than a dozen people, including sound designers, software engineers and robotics experts, drawn from Middlesex University and Kings College, to make the artwork.

The Tate Modern showcased this new breed of artists in its Undercurrent exhibition.

Mr Glynn's "robot puppet" exhibit at the exhibition was an ephemeral piece, on display for less than 48 hours.

However, the bespoke software that powers the robot can easily learn to adapt to new spaces, and the work is set to tour both nationally and internationally.

Video Journalist: Dougal Shaw

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