Hey guys!! Yesterday, I travelled to four different locations in Hull to see the robotic installations which were part of the ‘Where do we go from here event?’. The event has been running since early December and it uses lights, sound and robotics to captivate the audience and spur them to ask important questions about Hull: What kind of place do we want to live in? What role should culture play? and Where do we go from here? The main concept of the event is to stimulate thoughts of reflection on the future of Hull and each different installation illustrates how we as human beings interact with different things. I’ve been desperate to experience this event ever since it first opened and it definitely didn’t disappoint. So in today’s post, I’m going to be describing the ‘Where do we go from here’ event and sharing some of my thoughts of what I’d like for the future of Hull.
BEVERLEY GATE – THE GATEKEEPERS
Beverley Gate was once the entrance to Hull so it is extremely significant that 6 gatekeeper robots were stationed there for the event to draw in visitors with light signals. The music to accompany the installation featured the blast of foghorns and the whirring of machinery and since the robots overlooked the waters of Princes Quay, this could be linked to Hull’s fishing heritage. The lights attached to the robots flashed out a sequence of Morse code which could be seen as communicating with the public and helping to guide people towards the spectacular experience the event had to offer.
Trinity Square is viewed as being an important social space in the Old Town of Hull with Hull minster dominating part of the square, so it was fitting that it was the host of one of the robotic installations for the event. Nine robots filled the square with a choreographed performance using light and sound which put viewers at the centre of the show. The movement of the robotics was very fluent and at times, they imitated animals, bending down to feast on food. Whilst the creator of the event intended for the audience to ponder about the connection between the architecture that surrounds Trinity Square, I found myself seeing the connection that humans have with machinery and how we interact with machines.
William Wilberforce is a very influential figure who helped in the abolishment of slavery and originated from Hull. Wilberforce House is where he grew up and it has been transformed into a museum, dedicated to telling the story of his life. This was where the third installation was which unfortunately could only be viewed through the gates of the House and using mirrors to reflect light onto the statue, it appeared as though the statue of William Wilberforce and the robot were having an interesting conversation. To me, the concept of this installation was how we remember the past and what we think of the history that links to Hull such as Hull’s fishing heritage, historical figures like Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce and the ongoing evolution of Hull.
The fourth installation could be found in the picturesque Museum Gardens in front of the Streetlife Museum with a storyline that 5 factory robots had awoken from their factory mode to collaborate in a performance to show their intelligence. At points, they would mirror each others movements like they were communicating but one was always left out since there was an odd number. The music playing to accompany the performance had a unique, futuristic feel to it. Smoke curled out from beneath the robots to create an eerie effect and light was reflected from the robot’s mirrors onto surrounding buildings. Gradually, the robots abandoned the fast pace they’d all been keeping and slowed down until only one robot remained. This installation transitioned on perfectly from the third installation which linked in with the past whereas the fourth installation was focused on the future.
The ‘Where do go from here?’ Event stirred up a lot of questions for me as it was intended to. I found myself questioning what I want to see in the future for Hull and how we can improve our city from the past. Hull becoming city of Culture in 2017 gave it a real opportunity to emerge from the shadows and shake off lots of its negative sterotypes. Now in 2018, I’ve never seen so many tourists in Hull and I’ve never been so proud to be Hull born and bred. I hope that Hull continues to flourish as a city and that people can still see the the great appeal Hull has long after we hand our city of Culture title over to Coventry in 2021.
Thank you for reading this post!! What’s your favourite thing about your city? Let me know in the comments!! There’ll be another post out next week but until then bye for now!!
Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull