Hello Lamp Post – The Gamification of a City

The UK city of Bristol will play host later this month to a new digital project which allows members of the public to interact with and talk to objects all around them.

The project is the brainchild of the research and design studio PAN, and it’s their “Hello Lamp Post” that has won the first ever Watershed Arts Venue’s Playable City Award.  The awards were launched by the venue and the council alongside universities and tech businesses to find ways in which the city could be explored by its residents, known as Bristolians, and visitors to the city in a more game-like fashion.

The creators say that the aim of their Hello Lamp Post project is to:

“invite [city-dwellers] to try a new way of communicating… to slow down, reflect and give themselves permission to play.”

Bristol residents will be able to interact with urban, everyday street furniture – such as lamp posts, post boxes and bus stops.  These objects already have a unique code on them, so that the local council can identify an object when it needs fixing, but these codes are now used as IDs for the objects – you simply text the object’s ID to wake it up, and it will start talking to you.

When you wake an object it you start a conversation with it, answering questions about your surrounding and what you can see.  When someone else comes along and speaks to that same object they’ll learn more about people that have been there before and what they’ve seen and said.  The more people that interact with the objects, the more that stories of the hidden lives of Bristol’s residents will be opened up.

The Hello Lamp Post project runs in Bristol from July 19th through to September 8th 2013.

James Barnes, 

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