Gallerydrive: because you know better than the audience what they have to see. And how


Yesterday i was hoping to attend Niklas Roy‘s presentation of his latest project at the UdK (University of the Arts in Berlin) and instead had to stay home and wait for the gas guy to come and check the boiler.

0aavisti.jpgGallerydrive is a completely automated drive-through art exhibition. The system allows curators and artists to control the way single artworks are perceived, and the way, a whole exhibition will be experienced by a gallery or museum visitor. They can determine how the visitors move in relation to their works but also from which perspective, when and how long each work will be noticed. Besides, artists can define the presentation of (meta-) information over the vehicles display and on the sound environment, in which each work is perceived.

The first element of the project is the Gallerydrive car, a modified wheelchair fitted with a series of features:
– line detection which lets the wheelchair drive autonomously on a track of adhesive tape,
– a touch screen display to inform the user about the artworks or to allow them to interact with the artworks,
– an mp3-player with headphones to emit a soundtrack for the ride through the exhibition,
– an RFID reader, to let the wheelchair perform different actions (change of driving speed, the change of display content, the change of the currently played mp3-track,, etc.), when it passes a RFID tag,
– infrared communication to transmit information between car and course (or artwork),
– and infrared distance measurement sensor to let the car be able to queue in a row of Gallerydrive cars.

08_raum1.jpg09_raum2.jpgNiklas closing the room on his professors

So far so good. What makes the experience sound like one of my worst nightmare is the Robotik Room, a large electro-mechanical sculpture that becomes a white cube, when a Gallerydrive vehicle enters it.

The Room is about 50% finished. “I have to push buttons to operate the mechanism and then, the room descends and the walls flap down and surround the visitor(s),” explains Niklas who is still working on the electronics to let it move automatically.


The drawing below shows what it should eventually look like. “Inside the room, there’ll be four golden frames, one on each wall,” adds the artist. “The wall inside each frame will be cut out, so that the visitors will look outside through those frames instead of seeing normal pictures inside them. Outside the room, there are four installations, which might look strange and abstract, if you have a first look at them. But if you are being driven with the vehicle inside the room, and if you stop at the defined positions for watching each of those “pictures” at the walls, they will appear as an image inside these golden frames.”
The alternative title of the Robotik Room is Deus ex Machina, a term which describes a situation in ancient greek theatre plays, where the situation between the figures stalls and a god comes down on the stage, hanging on a big crane, to clear the situation in the play. The Robotik Room will do something similar, coming down from the ceiling and offering a certain perspective onto those abstract surrounding installations, which discloses what the installations are about.

The system itself does not determine contents for an exhibition. But guidelines for the content of exhibitions can be specified for each exhibition.

A project developed together with //////////fur////.

Btw, Niklas’ friends at UDK have a very nice Sacral Design exhibition on Karl Marx Allee (images) this week.

Pictures by Arne Fehmel. More images were made by Aram Bartholl during the presentation (i stole one of his as well.) Niklas comments on his piece in a Gizmodo interview.