Hello, Robot. Design Between Human and Machine, V&A Dundee

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As we reach the end of the first month of 2020, and move towards slightly longer days, we’re trying to get out of the house more often for some fresh air to blow those christmas cobwebs away. On a recent windy weekend afternoon, we took a walk down the riverfront to the V&A Dundee to see the third of their visiting exhibitions: Hello, Robot. Since we’ve become members of the V&A this is the second exhibition we’ll have been to using our yearly membership.

It had been a while since we visited, so I noticed right away that the layout of the Exhibition Gallery has changed since the last time we were here. This is very welcome, as it’s always seemed to be such a huge space being held behind a paywall, especially as the rest of the building was so empty. Now, just before you come to the Hello, Robot event proper there are a couple of cool things to see that are accessible to all; most notably an incredibly impressive wooden slatted structure that is used as part of a pop up performance by Scottish Dance Theatre. There is also some comfortable seating which is very welcome, a much better use of space overall.

Have you ever met a robot? From the robots we know and love, to the robot in your pocket, explore the fascinating future of robots at work, at home and in the blurring boundaries between human and machine.

Hello Robot Exhibition Inroduction

Hello, Robot.

Upon entering the Hello, Robot. exhibition space I was instantly hit by a wave of nostalgia. Representation of robots in popular culture such as R2D2, Rosie from The Jetsons, and Transformers were present alongside more practical robots like a Roomba. This first area serves as a great primer for whats to come, a small reminder of how ubiquitous robots have already been to our everyday lives both in the home and in our hearts.

As you move through the succeeding spaces, each room appears to be arranged as a musing on a series of robot-related questions: could a robot do your job? do you want to be more than nature intended? would you live inside a robot? It becomes clear that the suggested answer to the vast majority of these questions is yes. Yes, a robot could absolutely do your job, and yes a robot can look after you… but would you be comfortable with that?

The most impactful space is the final hall which is full of a more multi-media collection of exhibits. As you enter, the video to Bjork’s 1999 song ‘All Is Full Of Love’ plays on a loop, providing a soundtrack to a fascinating set of things to puzzle over. My personal highlights included the representations of 3D printed fashion designs, creepy ant drones, and Valentines cards from the curiosity rover (it breaks my heart that it’s still up there working away playing happy birthday to itself every 12 months, it’s too much). Hello, Robot. is a lot to take in but worth every second you will undoubtedly spend wondering where this is all going, and where it will end up one day, long after you’re gone.

Tatha Bar & Kitchen

An unexpected perk of having a yearly membership of the V&A Dundee is 10% off your bill at the on-site restaurant, Tatha Bar & Kitchen. As it was a sunny afternoon we decided to grab lunch, and although we hadn’t booked a table they found a gorgeous place for us right next to the window so we could see the impressive views out over the Tay.

I ordered the fried chicken open wrap with paprika fries and Andrew opted for the Perthshire smoked haddock and ham. The food was absolutely beautiful, if slow to arrive, and sadly our drinks turned up at the same time as the food… but at least the view was lovely! We’d eat there again I think, but perhaps at a quieter time.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch Hello, Robot. at V&A Dundee yet there’s just over a week left, it closes on Sunday 9th February, and I’d say it’s well worth a visit.

Post Signature 2017

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