The £30,000 Playable City Award was launched by Bristol’s Watershed October this year to challenge artists from all over the world to bring together creative technologies, art and play to surprise and engage audiences by bringing a sense of wonder into public spaces.
From 93 entries from 24 countries around the world, the following 10 projects have been shortlisted:
The Arc Project | Ivana Basic, Kyle Macondald, Gabriella Levine, Jack Kalish | New York, USA
A series of 3-D scanning booths (reminiscent of twentieth century photo booths) will be positioned throughout the city. Visitors will be able to get their bodies scanned and contribute them to a digital version of the city. Special viewing bubbles will allow anyone to see both themselves and the life size imprints left by those who were there before them.
Baloonometer | Ludic Rooms with Talking Birds and Splash and Ripple | Coventry, UK
A colossal crowd-controlled installation using balloons, microphones and fans. The city can collaborate to play: using phones and microphones to move the balloons into a safe house or a container full of spikes.
Cast | Nicky Kirk and Ed Carter | London, UK
A site-specific interactive pavilion and immersive environment, constructed using 3D scans of personal objects provided by the public, representing the different relationships people have with the city .
The City You Dreamed Of | Laura Kriefman | Bristol, UK
Larger than life building blocks with embedded sensors will come tumbling out of a tip-up truck touring the city. People of all ages and backgrounds can pick up the blocks, move them around, colour them in and shape them to build their own city of dreams.
Hello Lamp Post! | PAN with Gyorgyi Galik and Tom Artmitage | London, UK
A city-wide conversation taking place through street furniture – bus stops, post boxes, rubbish bins and even lamp posts can talk. Objects are ‘woken’ and chatted to by testing their unique reference and, in the online hub, inhabitants will be able to follow their city’s on-street debates.
Interactive Album | Fred Deakin | London, UK
Icelandic musician Björk caused a sensation when she released her latest album as an iPad app. UK’s Fred Deakin goes even further, releasing his album as a series of installation experiences in locations around the city, mixing music, light and generative interfaces for a musical experience that is as new as it is immersive.
Jolly Brolly Mystery | Andrea Hasselager and Rune K. Drewsen | Copenhagen, Dennmark
The Jolly Brolly Mystery is a fun way to explore Bristol while solving a murder mystery – even on rainy days. Whenever it rains in the city a new clue will appear at an undisclosed location, which can be picked up by a GPS enabled umbrella. There will be a prize for those who solve the mystery.
Playscape | Hide&Seek | London, UK
The modern city is full of display screens. Most show advertising content, some provide public information such as weather or travel updates. Playscape is a proposal for the first ever infrastructure of public digital displays that provide free public play. Situated around the city and reactive to weather, time and events, Playscape screens will give passers by ideas and rules of simple games they can play there and then on the spot.
Robot Runners | Seb Lee-Delisle | Brighton, UK
Cities already host large scale and big impact sporting events, but with Robot Runners comes an opportunity to take part in a massive city-centre spectacle involving up to one hundred robots. Players work together to complete tasks and earn points, controlling the robots via a smartphone app connected to a central server. Each game lasts around 30 minutes, is non-competitive and requires no training.
Sing A Little Song | Lucky Frame | Edinburgh, UK
Inspired by Ludwig Koch’s classic field recordings of birdsong, a number of digital birds will be installed around the city. Wirelessly connected to the internet, they will emit a range of simple melodies based on tweets and messages sent to them, for example the tweet “#birdsong #castlepark beautiful day” would be interpreted to produce a beautiful melody.
The panel of judges will meet on 14 January to choose the winner, who will be announced on Monday 21 January 2013 and receive £30,000 and a package of support to complete their proposed project. It will be unveiled in Bristol in Summer 2013 before touring internationally.
The members of the Playable City Award judging panel are: Tom Uglow, creative director of Creative Google Labs in Sydney; musician Imogen Heap; and Claire Doherty, director of situations. The panel is chaired by Clare Reddington, director of The Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed’s multi-disciplinary research lab, who told ArtsCulture: “We’ve had the connected city, the green city and the smart city, but we’ve yet to embrace the Playable City. By launching the Playable City award we wanted to show how cities can be fun and easy to play with in a free and open way. The strength and diversity of the applications we received from artists all around the UK and beyond shows that the Playable City has a bright future and one we are very excited about.”
The Playable City Award is supported by Aardman, BDH, HP Labs, IBM, IMDB, The Bristol SETsquared Centre, Sift, Team Rubber, Thirty Three, TLT LLP, Toshiba, University of Bristol, University of the West of England and Bristol City Council. The Award is produced by Watershed and supported by Arts Council England.