Winning Bristol’s inaugural Playable City Award, the project has taken everyday, ubiquitous items dotted around the urban environment, such as lampposts, post boxes and bus stops, and transformed them into open and personable objects that can communicate with city dwellers. PAN’s idea attempts to intensify the relationship between citizens and their local neighborhood.
Each object is labeled with a numerical code. Passers by simply send an SMS message containing this code and “Hello”, before engaging in a two-way conversation with it. These exchanges are aggregated and stored, informing other players about the interaction.
“Hello Lamp Post! stood out with a potential for both art and play using existing urban furniture. It points to a future made up of the physical objects already around us, the ‘internet of things’, and the underlying complexity is made simple and easy for people by just using SMS for this project. Poetry and technology combine to create subtle and playful reflections of the world we live in. It filled me with a childish delight,” mused Tom Uglow, Creative Director of Google Creative Lab and Playable City award judge.
Ben Parker of PAN will be discussing this project as part of Protein’s Civic Futures talk on February 19th. Read our Urbanomics, Futurist report, in which we explore the concept of personalizing urban spaces.