Welcoming the Orange Collars: Robotic Performance in Everyday City Life

  • Ecem Ergin

The kinetic installations -- comprising a set of orange robotic arms, light sources, mirrors and soundscapes -- performed spatial and temporal rhythms in four different urban settings across Hull's Old Town. We investigate the installations as an attempt to clarify a) the visual and auditory impact of the robots on the surrounding environments; b) the social impact of the performances on each setting; and c) the temporal impact of the performances on the social behaviours and experiences around the robots. The results of the study suggest that, in the context of outdoor urban settings, people tend to perceive robots as kinetic sculptures more than as urban installations. We contribute to the discussion around pervasive displays by considering kinetic robotic installations as an emergent type of urban displays, with potentially lasting effects on the experience of city environments. We address and chart constraints and challenges for urban environment of the future.