Ai-Da was in Cairo to participate in the contemporary art exhibition Forever is Now, but on arrival at the airport she was stopped and confiscated. The robot would have represented, in the eyes of the Egyptian authorities, a safety hazard, seen the cameras installed in his eyes.
The creature was thus accused of being a British spy and held in a cell for ten days. Only the intervention of the British embassy allowed his release. “She is a robot-artist, not a spy “reiterated its creator Aidan Meller, “the situation is ironic: the purpose of Ai-Da is precisely to warn men against the abuses of technology and instead, precisely because of its technological structure it has been arrested”.
The robot-artist is the most sophisticated and ultra-realistic artificial creature created in recent years and also the first to participate in an art exhibition. The event, sponsored by Unesco, was hosted in a special location: the pyramids of Necropolis of Giza. Ai-Da was one of the ten selected participants and, after his release, he was able to participate in the exhibition, presenting a sculpture that reinterprets the enigma of the Sphinx.
It is not the first time that the Egyptian authorities have feared an external threat hidden in unusual forms: already last year the Egyptian secret services had imposed a ban on flying flying kites, lest they turn out to be potential spies.