Robots in finals of 2014 IK Tate prize

Tate Britain will embrace 21st Century technology with new projects that could see robots roaming the galleries or virtual reality experiences based on famous pieces of art.

The innovative ideas came from participants shortlisted for the 2014 Tate IK Prize that invites digital artists to introduce new concepts to engage with the public.

"We wanted ways to use technology to increase our audience reach and new ways to connect people with art," said Jane Burton, the Tate's head of creative content.

By summer 2014, people could be able to remotely visit the gallery from their homes during weekends, steering the robots through the Tate Britain’s halls via the Internet.

"There is an adventurous element of breaking into a space where you are not really allowed," said Tommaso Lanza, a co-author of the project, together with Ross Cairns and David Di Duca. The trio said it would like to offer something different from reproducing a regular visit to the Tate.

Other finalists proposed building a reproduction of the popular 'Minecraft' videogame, or creating game versions of some 25 works such as Atkinson Grimshaw's 'Liverpool Quay by Moonlight' that would allow visitors to explore shops and alleys, interact with avatars, find diaries and hear snippets of conversation – all clues toward solving the game.

The projects were designed around a 20-room British art collection ranging from 1545 to the present. A panel of six high-profile figures in technology and art, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, picked the four finalists from 51 entries.

The winner, to be announced on 6 February, will receive a £10,000 prize and further £60,000 to get the project off the ground.

Members of the public have a chance to cast votes, adding up to a seventh vote, by midnight on Friday 24 January.

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