Bristol public exchange thousands of text messages with lamp posts and postboxes

By Ben Miller | 09 September 2013

More than 25,000 text messages, fired at lamp posts, graffiti, chewing gum, post boxes and other supposedly mute correspondents, have been sent by the public to objects in Bristol.

A photo of a woman sending a text message to a speaking postbox on a city street
Residents and visitors to the city were invited to communicate with street furniture as part of Hello Lamp Post, an interactive ploy allowing texters to swap observations and advice with familiar objects around the streets.

A total of 1,161 targets were “woken up” across the city, including more than 200 lamp posts and a set of digital dogs.

Revealing some of the more abstract conversations, organisers PAN Studios said one player had counted the 87 strides it took to cross a bridge. Others suggested ice cream vans as secret agent hideouts, while a drain which asked one participant what was under their feet was informed: “Naked hairless humans with massive eyes.”

“The project has been all that we had hoped for and so much more,” says Ben Barker, the co-founder of the studios commissioned to create the project after winning the Watershed venue’s inaugural Playable City Award.

“We wanted to give people of all ages and backgrounds in Bristol a chance to interact with the city, to play with the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary objects they came across every day and spark a conversation.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the response and the number of people who took part. We’ve followed the conversations with great interest and it’s been so exciting to see how imaginative the people of Bristol are and the conversations that Hello Lamp Post has inspired.”

Nearly 4,000 people took part, averaging 70 new players each day throughout the summer. Barker is now hoping to present the project at Texas’s SXSW festival in 2014.

Watershed plans to announce details of the second Playable City Award later this year.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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This is just so sweet. Would've loved to have participated
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