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Playable City Award announces its 2014 Shortlist

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by Startacus Admin

We are very pleased to report that the good folks at the Playable City Awards have just released a shortlist detailing the eight innovative and inspiring ideas which will now battle it out in the hope of winning the coveted top spot and the chance to have their idea brought to life.Playable City Award Announces its 2014 Shortlist

Now in its second year, The Playable City Awards (based in Bristol) asks artists and creatives from around the world to propose new ways for people to engage with the open and public spaces of the city - this might sound a little confusing, but have a look at the shortlisted candidates and all shall become clear.

Beneath Our Feet The Stars - Picture the scene, you are walking over a bridge and as you make your way across, a few words quietly appear on the surface of the water and slowly form into lines of poetry. Beneath our feet, the stars harnesses the energy of your feet and uses contextual information such as the time of day and the weather conditions to project poetry which (it hopes) will have a relevancy to those using the bridge. The idea is that our engagement with the urban environment can be seamlessly taken to a whole new level of significance with a minimum of effort on our part.

Playable City Award Announces its 2014 ShortlistCity Selfie - Impossible…they could never find a camera big enough! Well how about lots of little cameras then? CitySelfie will ask the good people of Bristol to lend a hand and get snap-happy to help create the most comprehensive snapshot of a city which has ever been seen. But they aren’t just talking about capturing a few local landmarks on your mobile phone - no no, but rather using a whole range of technologies such as friendly drones, balloon cameras, aerial photos from airline passengers, and live satellite imagery. The images which are produced will them be combined to create a patterned topographic image of the city which will be displayed online and at various cities around the country.

Light Memory - This project will enable the street lights of the city to record and playback the shadows of people who have passed underneath them. The video ( shows rather well how it will work but essentially as you pass underneath you will see the shadow of the person who came before you projected on the ground. Your shadows movements are then recorded becoming the shadow for the next visitor and so forth. The project hopes to create an innovative new way for people to interact with, not only the urban environment but each other as well.

Pipe Dream - This is an interactive musical sculpture that is built from real piping in which brightly coloured screws, pipes, levers and valves control the flow of light and music rather than water. The project encourages pedestrians to get involved and figure out which valves and levers control which music and lighting effects, collaborating and interacting with one another to create original pieces.Playable City Award Announces its 2014 Shortlist

Press Play - Toca Ai? - This one is all about bringing music to unexpected places within the city and encouraging people to interact and collaborate with one another. Press Play works through the use of hand-shaped touch sensitive panels which can be easily installed in any public space. Each one of these sensors is programmed to play music when touched and a number of them can be activated at once to play more layers of sound and create/experiment with your musical creativity. Check out the video for an idea of how it works

Shark in the Puddle - This project uses as its foundation, one of the greatest obsessions of British life… the weather. Shark in the Puddle is a collection of freely-distributed “interventions” which are directly related to and activated by the weathe r- Confused? We were too but it’s actually not every complicated at all. The creators of this project hope to install a number of ‘disposable pieces’ of art to give people a new and exciting experience of the city in which they live. For example, a shark game which ‘magically’ appears in puddles around the city as they fill with water or artwork or play spaces which only become visible once it is dark.

Playable City Award Announces its 2014 ShortlistTransportals - This is a project intended to transform a series of locations across Bristol into interactive art exhibitions that encourage the city’s residents to re-experience their daily environment as a place of play and happiness. Essentially, buildings which could be described as ‘boring’ will get a new exciting lease of life as a projected graphic animation transforms them into something playful and interactive. The building’s animation will have the ability to respond to the users movements and proximity creating a seamless opportunity for fun and unique engagement.

WTC - In a fun and quirky subversion of surveillance technology WTC will give the public an opportunity to take control of a number of ‘playful’ security cameras located in various places across the city. But of course these are no ordinary surveillance cameras and through the use of simple image recognition techniques they will be able to move, flash lights or play sound to attract attention to themselves. The designers say that some will behave as though they were antipodean birds, some may have laser pointers to play with and others could have disco balls. I guess we are going to have to wait and see what other tricks they have up their sleeve.

Big congrats to the 8 brilliant and innovative projects - we can't wait to see which one of you is crowned the winner and gets to make their idea into a reality.  Keep your eyes peeled for the big announcement in June/July. 

If you love exciting and innovative uses of urban spaces then why not take a look at last year’s winner Hello Lamp Post?

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Published on: 29th April 2014

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