When dealing with Robots, there are three things to keep in mind at all times:
1) A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not confict with the First or Second Law.
These, for the uninitiated, are the Three Laws of Robotics as told in Asimov’s I, Robot, the seminal tome on Robots and Robotology. If you haven’t read it, never fear for the Three Laws are written on the wall of a gallery in the Hove Museum where they are under siege from a Robot Invasion!
The invading robots come courtesy of Chris McEwan, a Sussex-based artist and illustrator. The army of automatons is an eclectic collection that has provided the artist with inspiration over the years. Moving from one gallery to another you can definitely see the influence that the mechanoids have had on his work as the exhibition is split between the inspiration-bots, McEwan’s quirky artwork and a short film demonstrating how some of the toy robots work.
“Human interest out of robots? A contradiction.”
It appears that this area of the south coast has a long history with anarchic androids, in 1932 Brighton was pioneering in
the world of robotics by exhibiting a robot named Alpha who was programmed to shoot a gun at his creator’s command and say “Mind or I’ll blow your blinking head off.”
At one fateful presentation, the robot merely muttered “Mind” and then opened fire on his master, a certain Mr. May.
May suffered injuries to his hand and arm; “Nevertheless,” he stated afterwards, “if I am physically capable I shall continue my shows with it because I am determined to show that I, and not the robot, is the master.”
Nowadays, though, the robots are tamer.
Hove Museum has done a wonderful job of making this exhibition fun for everyone. The displays provoked imagination and discussions and best of all, no one said SHHHHHHHHHHHH! Not even when the discussions were getting a little excitable; perhaps most refreshing of all is that the museum encouraged visitors to take pictures, in the traditional seaside manner of course.
I hope the robots don’t rust up in the sea air…
You can see the Robot Invasion until 21st February 2012.