Street furniture comes alive in Bristol in world’s first digital playground

January 23, 2013 by
Filed under: News 

Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes will soon play an even more important role in how Bristol operates as the result of a £30,000 award which will change the way people interact with the city.

The Watershed has announced Hello Lamp Post! as the winner of Bristol’s first ever Playable City Award, which attracted 93 entries from around the world.

The new art and technology project invites audiences to tune in to the secret conversations of the city and communicate through lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes and other street furniture this summer. Part game, part story, anyone can play by texting in a unique code found on the city’s familiar street objects.

“Hello Lamp Post! is hugely exciting and the University is pleased to support this fantastic initiative which supports Bristol’s rightful place on the global cultural map,” said David Alder, Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Bristol

Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes are the goosebumps of the city and so ubiquitous that they have become invisible. The ‘smart city’ approach is to augment them with technologies like digital displays, but Hello Lamp Post! seeks instead to make them playable, using existing city infrastructure to make an open, hospitable and playful experience which encourages people to notice and interact with what is around them.

The project will utilise the codes that city councils and public servants use to tell one object from another when a light bulb needs changing or a bus stop is in need of repair. For the first time, city dwellers will be able to use these codes too in order to play a game and tell a story.

The £30,000 commission seeks to create an original, future-facing work, which uses creative technology to explore the theme of the playable city and is supported by a network of organisations who exemplify Bristol’s strength in creative technologies, including the University of Bristol which acts as a partner and ambassador for the project.

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