The concept of a playable city, explains the website of Bristol-based arts and cinema venue Watershed, was dreamt up as a counterpoint to the technological ideal of a smart city. A place, it elaborates, that allows residents and visitors to “reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories”.

The project’s first winner, research studio PAN’s Hello Lamp Post!, was chosen from a shortlist of ten proposals and allows players to chat to the titular street furniture as well as post boxes, bus stops and bollards. Starting this summer, you’ll be able to text these objects by using their ID codes and have what we imagine will be a more metaphysical take on a Siri conversation.

“It points to a future made up of the physical objects already around us, the ‘internet of things’, and the underlying complexity is made simple and easy for people by just using SMS for this project. Poetry and technology combine to create subtle and playful reflections of the world we live in. It filled me with a childish delight.”

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