We launched the £30,000 Playable City Award in October to challenge artists from all over the world to bring together creative technologies, art and play to surprise and engage audiences by bringing a sense of wonder into public spaces.
Ten artists have now been shortlisted and we were thrilled to receive 93 entries from 24 countries across the world, which truly reflects the award's international appeal.
Incorporating everything from music to games to 3D printing, the shortlist encompasses balloons, umbrellas, running robots, singing buildings, body scanners and talking lampposts. There’s a wealth of novel ideas to be discovered here – all designed to capture the imagination of Bristol’s residents and visitors – to transform our city into a giant playable space.
Clare Reddington, Director of Pervasive Media Studio and Chair of the Playable City Judging Panel, says
“We’ve had the connected city, the green city and the smart city, but we’ve yet to embrace the Playable City. By launching the Playable City award at Watershed we want to show how cities can be fun and easy to play with in a free and open way. The strength and diversity of the applications we received from artists all around the UK and beyond shows that the Playable City has a bright future and one we are very excited about.”
We think that in a Playable City, residents and visitors should be allowed to explore and reconfigure the spaces, attractions and stories that they see every day. With that in mind, we want to hear from you. Which of the shortlisted ideas sparks your interest? Which is the most exciting or challenging? What do you really want to see in Bristol?
“I see this desire to reclaim public spaces in action in Watershed's Café/bar, in the way that people make themselves at home here. How comfortable they are moving the chairs around, reconfiguring the space to fit their needs, playing with the infrastructure. This and brilliant examples of playfulness from around the world, have inspired us to launch the international Playable City Award.”
We were particularly pleased to recieve such a warm reception to the award from outside of the UK, which reflects Watershed's growing international reputation. For the last year we have been working in Guimarães, Portugal on a European Capital of culture project on Open Cities. We also originally began developing the Playable City concept with British Council as part of a lab which brought together UK and South East Asian artists in Bristol, and have plans for a year long programme in Recife, Brazil.
The judging panel is chaired by Clare Reddington, Director of the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed’s multi-disciplinary research lab, alongside luminaries including Tom Uglow Creative Director of Creative Google Labs in Sydney, Musician Imogen Heap and Claire Doherty, director of Situations.
The judges meet on Mon 14 Jan to choose the winner, who will receive £30,000, plus support to complete their proposal. The winning project will be unveiled here in Bristol next Summer before touring internationally.
So, who will win the £30,000 award? All will be revealed on Mon 21 Jan. Have a look at the shortlist now and leave us your comments….