Carsten Holler Provides Overnight Robotic Beds At The Hayward Gallery

Carsten Holler

A new Hayward Gallery exhibition invites visitors to book a night in the artist’s robotic beds that roam around the gallery.  The overnight stay is for one or two persons and will provide guests with out of hours access to the gallery and the opportunity to immerse themselves in Carsten Höller’s many experimental environments – from ‘lifting off’ over the sculpture terrace on Two Flying Machines and experiencing the world through Upside Down Goggles, to activating the large-scale Flying Mushrooms mobile and taking a ride down one of the Isomeric Slides that hug the side of the building. 

Through Höller’s Decision Corridors, visitors will take a twisting and unexpected route from the world outside the gallery to the topsy-turvy world within. During the night Two Roaming Beds (Grey) make their way around the lower galleries in slow motion (0.7 metres a minute) which, according to Höller ‘introduces a moment of uncertainty’ where the sleepers can no longer be sure that the place that they go to sleep in will be the same place where they wake up. 

The beds are programmed to move in relationship to one another using a range of navigational systems. While a laser on the front of each of the beds sweeps the floor, searching for obstacles as it moves, radio beacons set in the gallery’s ceiling help the beds determine their relationship to one another and their position within the gallery. Although Höller’s twin beds appear to move in tandem, one bed in fact controls the movements of the other. This relationship is reversed each time that the bed that is currently in control – or leading their ‘dance’ – encounters an obstacle in the gallery. 

Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery and exhibition curator, said: “Visitors who get to spend a night in the gallery while transported on self-navigating beds will have an intimate and utterly unique experience of Carsten Höller’s mind-boggling exhibition. On awaking, they may find that the Hayward will never look the same again.” 

Carsten Höller: Decision is the artist’s largest survey show in the UK to date. Immersing visitors in a series of experimental environments, Höller’s interactive exhibition explores perception and decision making. To enter the exhibition visitors must choose between two different entrances, behind which lie separate routes through the first gallery. Once inside the exhibition, visitors encounter a range of situations – including the invitation to consume a pill, contents unknown – that ask them to reflect on the process of decision making.Over the past 20 years Holler has created devices, vehicles and situations that alter visitors’ physical and psychological states. Carsten Höller: Decision offers visitors the chance to see the world upside-down, experience uncanny bodily sensations and soar above London’s traffic in a flying machine. Hoping to ‘induce hallucinations, in the widest sense’ Höller populates the gallery with disorientating objects and installations, including giant revolving mushrooms and two robotically-engineered beds that – day and night – roam the exhibition like a pair of restless, insomniac twins.

Carsten Höller: Decision culminates in the artist’s Isomeric Slides. Accessed from Hayward Gallery’s roof, these slides turn ordinary gallery activity on its head. In a setting usually reserved for contemplation, Höller’s slides are an invitation to lose control. A slide, Höller has remarked, is both ‘a sculpture that you can travel inside’ and a ‘device for experiencing a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness’.

Wednesday 10 June – Sunday 6 September 2015


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