Hello Lamp Post!
The city is coming to its senses and waking up. Lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes, fire hydrants and more: all are rising from their slumber. Startled into life by Bristol’s citizens, they are suddenly awake, alert and inquisitive. They have questions, and they need answers.
These utilities and street furniture are the goose bumps of the 'smart city'– they’re so ubiquitous that they have become invisible to us. If these human 'touchpoints' are going to be smart, can they also be open, hospitable and played with at the same time? How can they be open to interpretation, surprising and personable?
Hello Lamp Post! asks players to communicate with objects and each other, telling stories across the city and discovering their own ways of playing with its infrastructure.
Objects are "woken" by texting the ‘Playable City’ phone number with the object’s reference number (take a look - everything has a number on it) and saying hello. The conversations people have are later available online through the Hello Lamp Post! website - having been converted into audio with a text-to-speech program. A radio-like interface allows users to "tune" into the various objects around the City, giving a sense of how people across the city are talking with its objects.
The potential is there for player-fuelled narratives to emerge, and for ideas to have their own lifecycles throughout the project.
As well as having a presence online, there will be a physical installation in a centrally-located exhibition space, where the city’s conversations can be heard. Visitors enter the space wearing special headphones. They "tune" into conversations based on their position inside the space, allowing them to physically walk through the ideas, games and stories being played out in the city. New context is created, as visitors group around interesting or bemusing exchanges, leading to yet more conversation.
This Playable City Award idea is brought to you by:
PAN is a design and research studio, established to produce rich, powerful and affecting experiences. We promote the idea of Experiential Design - taking theory and practices learned from the design industries and applying them to help people discover new sensations, explore deep emotional states and learn in new ways. In the last year we’ve built brain-scanning seance tables, woodland camera puzzles and a zombie-defence laser trap. We have worked for clients including The British Council, Marks & Spencers, Tom Dixon and Capcom.
Gyorgyi Galik is a London-based media artist with a background in fine arts and visual communication design. Gyorgyi has worked in labs and design studios including: Designswarm (London), Elmsly Arts Limited (London), PAN Studio (London), Natalie Jeremijenko and the Environmental Health Clinic (New York), Hexagram-Concordia (Montreal), CECI (Montreal), Szovetseg'39 Association of Artists and Architects (Budapest), Kitchen Budapest Art & Tech Lab (Budapest).
Tom Armitage is a designer and technologist, working across hardware, software, and the network; he has previously held positions at games company Hide&Seek and the design firm Berg. His explorations of the playful city go back to 2008, when he joined Tower Bridge to the network with an automated Twitter account, which has proved curiously popular.