The project adapts existing codes which are used by the city council to tell one object from another when a light-bulb needs replacing or a bus-stop repairing. Now members of the public will be able to use these codes to ‘play’ with the objects.
If you text the object’s code to a special phone number, it will ‘reply’ with a question. The organisers say, ‘Will it be pleased to see you? Irritated at having been left in the rain? Or will it tell you a secret? The more you play, the more the hidden life of the city will be revealed.’
Every post box in Bristol has been given a six-figure code, every bollard has two, some benches have seven and the storm drains have 14.
The Hello Lamp Post! project is being installed after winning the £30 000 Playable City competition, launched last year by Bristol art venue Watershed. It was chosen from 93 applications to the competition.
The competition called for ‘an original, future-facing work, which uses creative technology to explore the theme of the playable city.’
Pan Studio co-founder Ben Barker says, ‘Our interest in the playable city was rooted in its contrast to the smart city, the almost invisible structures that underpin modern services.
‘We are asking people to wake up to street furniture and play with them in order to communicate with fellow citizens.’
Hello Lamp Post! will be installed in Bristol from July to August, before touring internationally.