Hello Lamp Post has been announced as the winner of Bristol’s first ever Playable City Award. Their idea was chosen from 93 applications from around the world and will be produced and installed in Bristol this summer, before being toured internationally.
Hello Lamp Post! invites audiences to tune in to the secret conversations of the city and communicate through lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes and other street furniture. Part game, part story, anyone can play by texting in a unique code found on the city’s familiar street objects.
Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes are the goosebumps of the city and so ubiquitous that they have become invisible. The ‘smart city’ approach is to augment them with technologies like digital displays, but Hello Lamp Post! seeks instead to make them playable, using existing city infrastructure to make an open, hospitable and playful experience which encourages people to notice and interact with what is around them.
The project will utilise the codes that city councils and public servants use to tell one object from another when a light bulb needs changing or a bus stop is in need of repair. For the first time, city dwellers will be able to use these codes too in order to play a game and tell a story.
Every post box in Bristol has a six figure code, every bollard has two, some of the benches have seven and the storm drains have 14. Text the word ‘Hello + the name of the object + its code’ to the special phone number and the item of street furniture will immediately text you back with a question. 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.