Hello Austin, What’cha Knowin’? Public Art Project Allows the City to Talk Back

by Paula Newton January 28, 2015

During the summer of 2013, the British design and research studio PAN, Tom Armitage, and Gyorgyi Galik installed their “citywide platform for play,” Hello Lamp Post in Bristol, England. Up for three months, it allowed participants to have conversations with the city’s infrastructure (lamp posts, mail boxes, moontowers, manholes, telephone poles, and such). The team won the 2013 Playable City Award.

Now the team is bringing it to Austin for ten weeks (February 12 through April 27). Anyone with a cell phone (smart phone not necessary) can text Hello Lamp Post: Austin with the numbers found on thousands of objects throughout the city. The lamppost (or mailbox, etc.) will then “wake up” and initiate a conversation. The conversations get more complex as more and more people use the program.

The project was commissioned by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department in celebration of the Art in Public Places program’s 30th anniversary year, and in partnership with Art Alliance Austin. Also, it’s an “official art project of SXSW.”

Watch the video below, created during the Bristol installation:





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