„Darker Than Night” is a telepresence artwork which explores the human-machine-animal interface and telepresence as a means of mediating relations of empathy. In this interactive piece, participants, a telerobotic bat (batbot) and over 300 Egyptian Fruit Bats share a cave at the Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam. The cave is dark at all hours and has 15 meters in diameter and 20 meters in height. To see the bats the public peers through a window.
At the exhibition site participants stand outside looking into a spacious man-made „natural habitat”, a dark cave where the batbot continuously sweeps through the space with its ultrasonic emissions. The batbot, the central element of the installation, contains a small sonar unit inside it’s head, a frequency converter to transform bat echolocation calls into audible sounds, and a motorized neck which enables it’s head to spin.