How do you better a talking post box? Bristol's Playable City seeks out tech savvy public art pioneers

By Richard Moss | 30 May 2014

Playable City, Bristol's art-tech competition invites artists to get creative and win the chance to entertain the people of Bristol with interactive public art

A photo of a woman sending a text message to a speaking postbox on a city street

Last year it was won by talking lamp posts and post boxes, so it’s little wonder the short list for this year’s Playable City encompasses everything from bridges that recite poetry to cavorting CCTV cameras.

The competition, which is organised by Bristol cross art venue cum production outfit Watershed, invites clever art-techy types to come up with something playable to entertain and surprise Bristolians.

The brief is to challenge the “screen-based clichés of a smart city”, and respond instead to cities as “playable, open, and configurable spaces”.

Now in its second year and with £30,000 up for grabs, it has lured artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners from all over the world. Their proposals have been whittled down from 78 entries from 29 countries to a final eight.

Clare Reddington, Executive Producer of the Playable City Award, said she was "delighted" at the worldwide response.

"The shortlisted ideas reflect the diversity of responses to our notion of cities as unresolved, configurable, idiosyncratic places where citizens give one another the permission to be playful in public."

Click below to launch a gallery of images to get a flavour of what’s in store.



The winner of the Playable City Award will be selected by a panel of judges and announced on June 9 2014, followed by three months development with the Pervasive Media Studio based at the Watershed in Bristol.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Postboxes in Bristol to speak to public via text after PAN Studios win Playable City Award

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