Shortlist 2013

Comments

Lovely idea, would love to see this happen. I wonder with certain of the elements they could respond with more than just the questions and comments? Be great if you could 'earn' a surprising response - ie a lamp suddenly discovers it can play music, or a bin is able to vibrate with joy...

I really like the idea of conversations with ubiquitous street furniture - using physical infrastructure that's already there, and the comic potential of a chat with a lamp Post.

I wonder how this interface could be pushed further, in terms of what these exchanges could be used FOR in terms of playing games, building narratives or bringing about face to face meetups? Mysteries to solve, connections to be made, new friends to meet?

Whilst the aggregation of the content on the website & in an installation would useful and interesting as a archive, I find these elements less exciting in terms of their potential for playability.

Thanks for the comments guys. We're really excited about the potential for other types of play too. We've talked about narratives and smaller games breaking out on the platform, but we know that's just the start, so we're looking forward to hearing what people come up with and exploring it through development.

Katie, we think there is interesting potential for how that information feeds into a digital space too, for instance the mysteries you mention could then start to need exploring and solving through tuning online channels, allowing for co-operative play and a blurring of the distinction between location and remote engagement. Once an object is woken up, it no longer has to be tied to it's situation, it can become a communication channel. We can't wait to see what people come up with.

censorship city?

Good god, what utter nonsense.

You're not far wrong Deirdre.

The way we understand the Playable City Award, the whole purpose is to try and invent different and unusual kinds of play, so we reckon a *bit* of nonsense is always going to be necessary, and perhaps even beneficial.

Hi everyone,

it might be that we're trying to fit a lot of ideas into a short description - we've also got a longer version which goes into a bit more detail, if it helps: http://panstudio.co.uk/2012/12/the-playable-city/

Lovely idea, I particularly like the fact that it uses things that already exist in the environment and brings to life objects that you wouldn't normally pay particular attention to.

I imagine the conversations being mapped online, showing clearly where all the bus stops are for example, by the fact that people have time to kill by chatting with the street furniture. The map then almost turns into a record of places that people are most likely to engage with the environment around them.

Excited to see how this develops, good luck!

I likr this one too - hope it gets picked! Seem to be very few post boxes now - I still use them.

Amazing idea. I like benny's ideas of a 'reward' for interaction. Would love to see us helping the objects converse among themselves too, opening up a very surreal and playful world.

In response to Deirdre, it may well seem like nonsense but it is pretty much going to be part of the future - generations to come will quite feasibly be asking lamp-posts for directions, benches the weather forecast, or pillar boxes what time the last collection is (if anyone is still using the postal service to send letters).

And anyway, when has sensible ever been fun?

I like this one, I like a bit silly, and as a photographer I like looking at everyday objects differently and this really takes that idea to the limit!

Like the low technical bar to entry, and the possibility of keeping the infrastructure available for re-use in the long run (if we're going to make Bristol playable, let's keep it that way).

It would be interesting to see if the objects could be given personalities - presumably the city's loneliest litter bin would have a rather different outlook to the most chatted to letterbox.

Really hope this gets picked.

Having in mind that people are being more and more alienated as more and more of our lives is based in "virtual reality' this project proposes for people to stare at the screens even more but now having irrelevant conversations with objects on the street. The scenario of this project is that of people standing on the street texting, like they usually are, everyone on their own little screen yet now having vapid conversation with an objects. I think it is important to consider social implications of the interactions that are proposed by these projects, and this one misses to do so.

Wow I agree with the poster above^, Seriously, after reading this I was curious about what others would say and I'm surprised by all of the raving reviews. This project is flat. It does not grab me and make me want to interact with it at all. Honestly, it isn't inviting, compelling or mysterious for me to want to "play" aka text my phone in public and have an insignificant conversation with an object. If I was visiting Bristol I would rather talk to locals or anyone I meet for that mater rather than a lamp post.

I also wouldn't consider this playful, more like an anti-social and mediocre use of technology.

Wow I agree with the poster above^, Seriously, after reading this I was curious about what others would say and I'm surprised by all of the raving reviews. This project is flat. It does not grab me and make me want to interact with it at all. Honestly, it isn't inviting, compelling or mysterious for me to want to "play" aka text my phone in public and have an insignificant conversation with an object. If I was visiting Bristol I would rather talk to locals or anyone I meet for that mater rather than a lamp post.

I also wouldn't consider this playful, more like an anti-social and mediocre use of technology.

I love the idea but worry not that many people would use the technology.

love the idea of utilising and animating normally inanimate city 'furniture' but kind of agree with one of the posts that more needs to be thought about why would people be having those interactions, what are those conversations about, how do they become in any way meaningful and how does it become something that isn't just people standing around looking at their screens in the street?
There is no obvious interaction between citizens in the real world which makes it essentially a lonely activity.

I would definitely rather talk to a lamp-post than someone who has such strong issues with using their phone in public.

I think it's clear that the world is for better/worse (up to us) changing, things like this are happening, if you are aggrieved or depressed by the idea of people floating around in their own bubbles why not try playing around with the technologies that fascinate them so? You never know you might pop their bubble or make them realise a thing or too (so might you). Negativity (not to this proposal, that's your entitled opinion, but to emerging technology in general) however, will unlikely change anything.

I reckon (I might be wrong) that the concept of this proposal isn't to get us all new obscure social lives with objects, or even to become further abstracted from reality than we already are, but (maybe) is about playing around with the capabilities and implementations of new and existing technologies in the hope of generating a few ideas of how we can make cities more open (not closed), more dialogic (not dictatorial), or just more fun (for other people not just you). My nieces and nephews would find this funny and engaging, which is realistically more than you could say about their potential interactions with average person on the street.

Given our strong dyadic relationship to objects, social interaction with them has been highly underplayed in human history so far and I think it's not infeasible to suggest that this will be normal in generations to come.

Also, the detractions here make some people sound like the grumpy old man from 'UP' - wonder if they would accuse the dog of having 'vapid' conversation ha! hilarious!

Thanks for all the comments guys.

We agree - the conversations players have will need to be carefully thought out. As well as a question about the player, all exchanges will include at least one question encouraging observations of the local environment (What’s going on? What are people nearby doing? What can you see?). Questions about the area, it's inhabitants and their actions should mean people aren't just looking at screens but rather looking around, and seeing Bristol and her denizens in new ways.

Although on the surface people will be talking to street furniture, this is really a vehicle to facilitate a much larger city-wide conversation between everyone, something that might not be happening at present. As well as being able to respond to the replies that the street furniture comes up with, players will also hear the voices of others through the installation and the online ‘radio’. The discussions with street furniture are just the starting point in a city wide conversation platform.

A few previous comments have said it would keep play interesting if players were ‘rewarded’ for their continued interactions, and if the objects develop personalities over time. We agree with both these points, and will be looking into ways the conversation can transform for dedicated players and also for the most frequently visited pieces of street furniture.


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