The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

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By Simon Kay

June 20, 2013 | 3 min read

A campaign by PAN studio will turn Bristol into a city of "secret, digital conversations" by encouraging people to talk to lampposts, post boxes and bus stops has been unveiled for this summer.

Bristol residents will be able to use the text function on an average mobile phone by texting the unique codes found on each object. Codes can be found around the city, used to identify public objects when they are in need of repair. With Hello Lamp Post, these codes become secret passwords that allow you to ‘wake up’ a sleeping object and discover what it has to say.

Hello Lamp Post combines art and technology to change the way we interact with urban landscapes around us, augmenting existing infrastructure of the city with digital encounters to create playful experiences.

The idea was chosen from 93 applications submitted from around the world, when the inaugural Playable City Award was launched by Watershed and a network of organisations exemplifying Bristol’s strength in Creative Technologies last year. The project will run from 15 July to 8 September.

Barker, co-creator of Hello Lamp Post and co-founder of PAN Studio, said: “We’re incredibly excited to unleash Hello Lamp Post around the city this summer. We hope it will unlock the secrets, stories and experiences of Bristol’s people through Bristol’s objects.

“We have been developing the game mechanics and finessing conversation styles of the text messages that we hope will inspire Bristolians to converse and play with their street furniture – and ultimately each other, as they’ll get to discover more about other passers by in their vicinity. The more people take part the more fun for all, so do give it a go.”

Clare Reddington, executive producer of the Playable City Award, said: “We all know about smart cities, but here in Bristol we have a chance to get playful with our city instead. At the start of this year, the MIT Technology Review designated 2013 the year of the Internet of Things – a trend for physical objects to become more connected and interactive, and one we at Watershed wholeheartedly embrace with the Playable City Award, a chance for city dwellers to engage with the physical landscape around them in a fun and exploratory way.

“It’s a complete experiment, and we can’t wait to find out what we’ll discover about our street furniture, our city, and in the process, ourselves.”