Passing Through

Ninian Gomez, freelance at Ladbury PR, on the willow wonders of artist Laura Ellen Bacon currently exhibiting at National Trust’s Mompesson House in Wiltshire

I have always been fascinated by architecture and the merging of my organic  sort of muscular forms with these very linear constructions of architecture its something that really appeals to me, Laura Ellen Bacon

Artist Laura Ellen Bacon creates the most wondrous willow sculptures, abstract in their form, they convey a live energy which flows through the organic or man made structures on which they are built.

What is most striking about her forms is the ‘language’ through which she seems to communicate with every strand, stick and curves and knots entwined into an endlessly laborious but rewarding work that culminates into shapes that thrill the artist, embellish their surroundings and make existing structures proud ‘hosts’.

With tapered fingers she creates large scale sculptures, unique and individual in their creation, they appear to keep growing, flowing and spilling out of, or into nature or architectural structures, from trees to walls, to gutters and cracks in pavements.

There is a harmonious relationship between her sculptures and their hosts as they create a fine balance.  Her sculptures can be both monumental and intimate in their cocoon like forms, muscular with a sense of fragility. They are ethereal in appearance like breathing living forms.

Laura says, I am often asked where my inspiration comes from and it originally stems from interest in bird and insect nests because they are always built into existing structures

Laura has exhibited in landscape settings and galleries nationwide. She is currently exhibiting at National Trust’s Mompesson House, as part of a wider sculpture exhibition on material connections across the ages made possible by The Veronica Stewart’s Arts Trust.

All the sculptures at Mompesson House, were inspired by the history of its objects and for Laura she was reminiscing on the humble willow baskets used to carry food or personal belongings and their architectural features.

Laura says, while household matters were lived out over hundreds of years inside the house, time has swept through the Cathedral Close outside this great front door like an ever-shifting breeze.  The forms of ‘Passing Through’ therefore are contorted between their desire to cling to the front door and its daily flow of visitors and the sweeping, consuming, current of time.

These unique, inspiring works present us with an opportunity not to be missed. To find out more about the exhibition and Laura Ellen Bacon please visit:

www.lauraellenbacon.com

www.vs-art-trust.org

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mompesson-house

Ninian can be found tweeting at @NinianAnon

My brother crossed the Atlantic in a row boat

Alice Birch is a history student at Edinburgh University currently working as a summer intern at Ladbury PR, these are her reflections on her brother’s resolve and the impact of his big ocean row

When my brother first announced that he was going to row the Atlantic Ocean with his friend Jamie, a distance of over 3000 miles in a 24ft boat, I was both shocked and impressed.

Luke has always been stubborn and motivated but at the age of 21, with little rowing experience and in the face of a gruelling race that would see them at sea for over 50 days, I found his resolution hard to believe. Not only was the challenge itself enormous, if they completed the race they would become the youngest pair ever to have rowed the Atlantic Ocean.

They did it. In February 2014 Luke and Jamie landed in Antigua after 54 days at sea. They overcame storms, 30ft waves, and inhuman exhaustion from a gruelling routine of two hours rowing, two hours sleeping burning over 10,000 calories a day. As they hit dry land, thick bearded, thin limbed and with unsteady feet it was clear they had undergone an intense transformation. Their hands were hooked and calloused after weeks at the oars. The salt had caused open wounds and blisters in unspeakable places: the places you want wounds and blisters least. The physical toll of the race was to be expected: none of us could foresee the transformation to his personality and the way that he looked at the world.

In his tiny boat at the mercy of the unstoppable, uncontrollable ocean Luke describes a kind of calm helplessness. I said goodbye to someone quick to anger, stubborn, and, despite his age, a worrier who made mountains out of molehills. He is now unphased and stoic in the face of the everyday things that cause most of us stress. Despite, or perhaps because of, the ferocity of the ocean he talked a lot about the small pleasures. The huge task at hand led to him seeing the row not as a whole but in a series of small stages, and he looked forward to the rewards after completing a stage. One of his greatest treats was the joy of clean socks after a night shift on the oars. In one video you see him uncontrollably excited about a Pepperami, a welcome treat after rehydrated space food, and he told of how the vision of big juicy tomatoes were a fixture in his mind! It seems Luke now understands something that I imagine it takes many people a lifetime to, and that is to let go of the stresses that are out of your control, to appreciate the little victories that are often overlooked, and to love the good things in life, even if it’s just a tomato.

Probably more profound is Luke’s newfound understanding of religion. A seemingly fervent atheist he has returned with an abstract belief in ‘a higher power’, the acute sense of insignificance few of us experience bringing the spiritual into sharper focus. He describes on (unfortunately rare) calm days being able to see the curvature of the earth in every direction. This sense of being so small and being able to comprehend the size of the earth around him is undoubtedly something few can relate to, spending most of the time surrounding by buildings. The stars in particular, the burning sunsets and the rejuvenating sunrises gave him a feeling that what he was seeing and the indescribable awesomeness and power of the ocean cannot have been an accident.

Luke returned, Guinness World Record in hand, with new understandings that I will be forever envious of, some that were immediately true and others that it has taken a few months to develop. He knows that he will never be comfortable in a nine to five office job. The unpredictability of the ocean and the fresh challenges that it brought with it each day have made him relish the unknown and want to push himself continuously. This was obvious when he swum the channel at 18 and I predict this will not be the last similar challenge he undertakes. Hopefully he will give it a rest for a while so my long-suffering mum’s nerves to return to normal!

To read more about Luke’s big boat ride visit: www.2boysinaboat.com

Alice Birch can be found tweeting at @alicecbirch

 

Going African Street Style with the Dandy Lions…

Photo credit: Sara Shamsavari

Moroccan themed ‘Salon’ curated by celebrated artist Hassan Hajjaj, catwalk show by Nigerian designer Samson Soboye with stylists from the London College of Fashion, a Capoeira masterclass with Mestre Pastel from Raizes de Rua, and a live photo session with photographic artist Sara Shamsavari introducing the Shantrelle P Lewis’ Dandy Lion project and more…

This Sunday, July 27 2014, from midday to 7pm, Calvert Avenue and Arnold Circus in Shoreditch E8 will be transformed into a riot of vibrant senses, sights and sounds – a day dedicated to championing the influence of African creativity on London’s cultural life.

Accessing the Mainstream III | African Street Style has been created by social entrepreneur Jeffrey Lennon, Director of SIMPLICIOUS C.I.C, in partnership with the London College of Fashion, Hackney and Tower Hamlets Councils, and the Shoreditch local community.

The one day festival will see a Moroccan themed ‘Salon’ curated by celebrated Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, catwalk shows curated by Samson Soboye and stylists from the London College of Fashion, a Capoeira masterclass with Brasilian Mestre Pastel from Raizes de Rua, Africa meets Brazilian Dance masterclass with Irineu Noguiera Dance, live acoustic performances from North Africa and West African musicians, featuring  Simo Lagnawi and Jally Kebba Susso, DJs from Soul Jazz Records (Sounds of the Universe), and the Aba-Shanti Sound System, film and imagery provided by students from SOAS and more.

I know where I’ll be this Sunday…

http://africanstreetstylefestival.co.uk/

In memory of my mother

Freya Stewart, 34-year-old Legal Counsel at Christie’s London, on losing her mum too soon, on the power of memory and the embracing arms of the arts in keeping her legacy alive…

My mum, Veronica, was full of energy.  She embraced life through her love of family and friends, and overall through art, in all its colourful forms.  I am one of four siblings and we grew up in a magical home on a beautiful farm high up on the Wiltshire Downs surrounded by art and artists giving a richness not only to my mum’s life, but also to my own and that of my siblings. I could not imagine a childhood any other way.  Artists breathed through our house like an extension of our family:  old friends and new, people whom mum wanted to support, sometimes merely by providing a loving home from home for all who needed it, whether they knew it or not.  

My mum’s love of art and her determination in supporting artists and their creative endeavors has been a monumental gift, hopefully to all those who have directly benefited from her support, but also to me.  

Loving art is an inherent part of who I am and it connects me to so many wonderful people in my life today.  Despite my mum dying too young, aged 62, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a mother who has left me with all these precious gifts. 

Listening to my mother’s eulogy – which recounted the numerous ways in which she tried to help and support artists from all walks of life, I could not have been prouder. My mother was by no means a wealthy lady, yet she found all kinds of ways to support artists and artistic projects, with time, energy, connections, encouragement, modest commissions and love.  It is this love and support of artists that the Veronica Stewart Arts Trust seeks to continue.  Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, in writing this it has a dawned on me that not only do the objectives of the Trust reflect the legacy of my mum, but so too does the way in which the Trust is able to achieve those objectives: with the amazing generosity of those who share the same love of the arts and support the Trust not just financially, but with time, energy and creativity.  Each year, for five years, the Trust will support a different medium of art: sculpture, music, painting, drama and literature.  This year, the Trust focuses on sculpture.  

In April 2014, the Trust opened an eight-month sculpture exhibition in conjunction with the National Trust, in Mompesson House, Salisbury, Wiltshire.  The exhibition aims to provide a platform of exposure for a number of exhibiting emerging sculptors, whose work is shown alongside that of sculptors with established international reputations.  Most of the exhibitors, some of whom are also sadly no longer with us, were friends of my mother’s and some are also local to Salisbury, which makes this project even more special. This is exactly the kind of project my mum would have wanted to do herself.   It is a beautifully curated exhibition, set in a beautiful house and garden in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral - a magical wonder of place, cherished by all of my family, as it was by my mum.  

 Until recently, I walked to work every day via Paternoster Square, by St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and every morning I would walk past the magnificently beautiful sculpture by Dame Elizabeth Frink, Shepherd and Sheep.   It felt like a gift from my Mother, and it was.

The contemporary sculpture exhibition at Mompesson House in memory of my mother will be open until Sunday November 2nd, do stop by.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mompesson-house

www.vs-art-trust.org

Remembering Acme studio with Richard Wilson and more… Inside Out Festival 2014 unveils first line up

This week The Culture Capital Exchange announced the first tranche of events to form part of this year’s Inside Out Festival. Returning this October with a characteristically sagacious and diverse mix of debates, performances, walks, talks, symposiums, screenings, and exhibitions, the Inside Out Festival 2014 in association with The Times Higher Education, invites the curious and inquisitive to immerse themselves in a rich cultural programme inspired by the work of London’s leading minds, each seeking to inspire, provoke, engage and entertain.

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Dore Bluegate Fields | Walk w Dr Nadia Vlaman | Photo Credit Gusave Dore from ‘London A Pilgrimage’ (1872)

International political theorist Richard Ned Lebow will be in discussion with Professor of Psychology Emanuele Castano analyzing why nation states refuse to learn the lessons of history and continue to instigate violent conflict when, since 1945, almost 90% have failed, yet all unfailingly cause atrocities, death and destruction. The discussion will be chaired by Lawrence Freedman.

Emily Butterworth from Kings College London will invite visitors to Somerset House to take part in a mass game of Chinese whispers in a contemporary and playful exploration of gossip and rumour in the French Renaissance, Professor of Computer Science and masquerading magician Peter McOwan reveals what mathematics can teach us about magic and vice versa, and a pile of dumped electrical objects are reimagined in a statement about the perils of electronic waste.

Tate artist and specialist in learning Michelle Furier will debate with experts from London College of Communication, artsdepot and AgeUK on whether silver surfing really is the solution for social isolation.

Other highlights include the premiere of 72-82 made by celebrated artist and filmmaker Prof. William Raban, from London College of Communication, an illuminating documentary charting the history of the first ten years of the legendary Acme Studios. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with sculptor and former Acme resident, Richard Wilson.

Choreographer Angela Woodhouse and sculptor Nathaniel Rackowe collaborate in an intimate performance installation, which embeds the artists and audience within it. Texts from some of the nineteenth century’s most compelling writers, Dickens, Poe and Stephenson are brought to life as Dr. Nadia Valman walks people through the streets of Soho evoking the spirit of Victorian London, using projection to display their words on the urban locations that inspired them as the sun went down and gas lamps illuminated the night.

And with 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia, an exhibition and accompanying guide by research designer Dr Anke Jakob and occupational therapist Dr Lesley Collier brings new insight into how improved, thoughtful design can add value and meaning to multisensory environments for older people with dementia and their carers.

These are just some of the events, debates, films to form part of this year’s Inside Out Festival which is taking place from 20-26 October 2014, keep up with events as they are added here: www.insideoutfestival.org.uk

Putting the heart back into abandoned buildings in downtown Bogota + other stories…

From a champion of the arts and community theatre in abandoned buildings in downtown Bogota, to the creator of UAE’s first Arabic and English graphic design studio, thirteen pioneering entrepreneurs have been selected from ten different countries around the world to receive the British Council’s 2014 International YCE Culture Award

This week 13 young creative entrepreneurs stepped off the plane in Heathrow from ten different countries around the world to embark on a week long tour of some of London’s most creative culture/tech hubs to share ideas, insight and spark new international collaborations. Each united in that they have all won the British Council’s 2014, International Young Creative Entrepreneur Culture Award, which celebrates young entrepreneurs from around the world who are pioneering at the intersection of culture and technology. 

The British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) programme is a global scheme to find the brilliant people behind young businesses who are innovating the creative sector in their countries.  The programme is ten years old this year and was born out of the recognition that some of the most creative and innovative ways people are using culture is motivated by creating sustainable business that make money.

And this year’s winners are no exception, and include Tatiana Rais from Bogota, Colombia, director and founding member of Espacio Odeón: Centro Cultural, a non-profit art organization dedicated to promoting contemporary art and rejuvenating Bogota’s abandoned spaces, Denis Kargaev, co-founder of Team+1, a dynamic PR agency in Moscow, Russia, which produces large-scale campaigns and events for the cultural sector, Zimbabwean pianist Ngonidzashe Mapani  who has set up a one-stop-shop arts management company called Musiqlef, Erdem Dilbaz, electronic art producer and founder of Nerdworking, an electronic art platform which brings Istanbul’s most innovative artists and engineers together to develop new interactive projects for public spaces, and Salem Al-Qassimi from the UAE, whose company, Fikra specialises in providing bilingual graphic design solutions in Arabic and English, a service completely unique to this region.

The tour has included Tech City, Tate Modern and Bankside with Donald Hylsop, Head of Regeneration and Community Partnerships at Tate, it has included Makerversity at Somerset House, and the Barbican’s Digital Revolution with an exclusive tour from their guest curator Conrad Bodman.

Each of the winners were selected through national competitions held in the participating countries – UAE, Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Poland, Russia. Applications were invited from people running young businesses, (two to seven years old), in any creative sector. 

To find out more about The British Council YCE Programme visit: http://creativeconomy.britishcouncil.org/creative-entrepreneurship/young-creative-entrepreneur-programme/

It IS #TimeToAct but what do we do?

It was just a week ago, on a warm East London afternoon, Emma Fulu, lead researcher Medical Research Council SA addressed this very question to a packed room at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict fringe, to mark the launch of What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls? 

Emma Fulu was amongst an eminent panel hosted by the UK Department for International Development together with the South African Medical Research Council, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the International Rescue Committee in collaboration with Womankind Worldwide, to spotlight the need to invest in work to address the root causes which underpin many forms of violence and continue to build the evidence base for prevention. 

Stop Violence Before It Starts from Manta Ray Media on Vimeo.

This year alone violence and female oppression has dominated world news, from the 200 school girls kidnapped by paramilitary network Boko Haram in northern Nigerian, to the pregnant woman in Pakistan stoned to death by her own family for marrying the man she loved, to the two teenagers found hanged in a field, gang raped and murdered by their neighbours in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh.

Nor is this news new to us, last year the world stood in horror as we learnt of the gang rape of a young 23-year-old woman as she travelled home from work on a bus in Delhi. And these stories are just the ones we hear about. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights worldwide. WHO statistics tell us that a third of all women experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Globally nearly one in ten women have experienced sexual violence by someone other than a partner and in many places it is much higher. This is nothing short of a global health crisis.

For years individuals and organisations have been working hard to help women who have experienced such violence but that isn’t enough. The rates of violence have not decreased in that time.

The panel discussion that took place last week marked the launch of DFID’s £25m global research and innovation programme, What Works, which aims to build knowledge on what works to prevent violence against women and girls and which interventions to strengthen women’s and girls’ agency and empowerment protect them from violence so that the rates of violence do start to come down. This is what we can do.

From this week national and international non-government organisations can apply for innovation grants, there are 10-14 available, to test out innovative approaches to preventing violence or meeting the needs of those who have survived violence, visit the SVRI website for details.

“Mysterious, gothic and gritty”

Clare Reddington, Exec Producer, Playable City Award describes Shadowing, the winner of the 2014 £30,000 international Playable City Award, to get Bristol residents dancing with shadows

This week the Watershed in Bristol unveiled the 2014 winner of the £30,000 international Playable City Award, design duoJonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier, based in New York and Treviso, Italy respectively whose idea, Shadowing, will be brought to life this September.

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As the sun goes down and Bristol’s street lamps light up the greying pavements, traces of those who have passed by will be played back as shadows, re-animating the streets. As people interact with these curious figures, their movements and actions will be recorded and echoed back to the next one to tread the same path.

The Shadowing team together with Watershed Producers will start to develop the infrared technology needed to capture people’s outlines and work out ways to project movement back as shadows after people have moved on.

The project offers passers-by a trace of those who have walked the same path moments, days or weeks before, at times like ghostly time travellers, at others like a more playful Peter Pan. As well as peeling back the traces of the city’s nooks and crannies, Shadowing offers an exploration of the disconnectedness that technology can create between strangers, the role of light in creating a city’s character, and the unseen data layers and surveillance culture that pervades our contemporary urban spaces.

The award, launched last year by Watershed in Bristol, UK (www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity), invites artists, designers, architects and creative practitioners from all over the world to propose new ideas that will challenge the screen-based clichés of a smart city, and respond instead to cities as playable, open, and configurable spaces.

Shadowing was selected from 78 applications received from 29 countries around the world, and will be produced and installed in Bristol this autumn launching at the inauguralMaking the City Playable conference, before being toured internationally.

You can read more and follow the project as it develops at

http://www.playablecity.com

It’s like building sandcastles on the beach

On 3rd July 2014 the Barbican is going to be opening its doors to a Digital Revolution, an immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames. Deep in the heart of the revolution, down in the Barbican’s darkened Pit Theatre visitors will leave their belief at the door as they enter a blackened room filled with three-dimensional light fields, to shape, manipulate, wrapping themselves in blankets of light creating delicate 3D luminous forms in space accompanied and encouraged by sound, which follows each gentle move.  This is Assemblance…

                

 Assemblance is the first indoor interactive art installation from artists Usman Haque and Dot Samsen from Umbrellium, usually celebrated for their large-scale mass participatory interactive outdoor events. Like building sand castles on the beach, Assemblance explores how to structure participation in order to build trust between people who must sometimes suspend disbelief in order to cooperate and co-exist. The space, at times magical, at times slightly sinister, creates deep emotional engagement by blurring arbitrary distinctions between physical and virtual.

 
Assemblance will sit alongside new commissions including Google's DevArt, an installation by global music artist and entrepreneur will.i.am and artist Yuri Suzuki and works by Universal Everything, Seeper andSusan Kare (Mac Paint designer). Visitors will also see work by Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin and his team at Double Negative for Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking film Inception; artists and performers including Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin, Fred Deakin & Company, Amon Tobin and Philip Glass and game developers such as Harmonix Music Systems (Dance Central).

 I for one will be heading down to the lesser-known depths of the Barbican to enter the darkness and wrap myself in some light.

 http://www.barbican.org.uk/bie/upcoming-digital-revolution

http://www.umbrellium.co.uk

Playable City Award Shortlist Announced

The second international £30,000 Playable City Award was launched by Watershed (www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity) in February this year to invite artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners from all over the world to propose new ideas that will challenge the screen-based clichés of a smart city, and respond instead to cities as playable, open, and configurable spaces. From 78 entries from 29 countries around the world, the following eight projects have been shortlisted:

Beneath our feet, the stars | Ben Gwalchmai | Powys, UK

As you cross a bridge, the energy of your feet is captured by pressure pads and translated into beautiful poetry. The quietly emerging lines of poetry are generated in response to contextual data such as the time of day, the weather and how many people are crossing the bridge with you now. Beneath our feet, the stars enables you to play with the city simply by being in it. This is a subtle, human approach to technology unlocking and the creative power of the citizen amidst the architecture of our future cities.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/beneath-our-feet

CitySelfie | Design Informatics | Edinburgh, UK

Imagine if the last time you looked in the mirror was two years ago. That’s what it’s like for Bristol, or any city in fact, after all, it’s a bit of a challenge to find a mirror big enough or to get it just at the right angle. But the city does want to know what it looks like. A CitySelfie handcart will travel around the city, inviting citizens to take a snapshot of Bristol using different technologies to slice through different layers of the city, from conventional mobile device cameras, to throwing a camera-packed ball into the air, to directing friendly drones, launching balloon cameras, crowd-sourcing aerial photos from jet-setting arrivals, and live satellite imagery.
http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/cityselfie

Light Memory | Jonathan Chomko | Treviso, Italy

As you walk home, passing under a streetlight you see a shadow, walking beside you. You jump back, then approach cautiously  - the shadow stops, waves. You wave back incredulously. The shadow cocks its head to the side, jumps to the left, then walks on. In Light Memory you are recorded through an infrared camera, your movements played back as a shadow after you have left, offering the next passer by a trace of the person who walked this path before them. The project encourages a sense of connectedness as well as offering a subtle reminder of the surveillance culture that pervades our city spaces. Interactions could be as simple as walking together, or perhaps you might recognize a neighbour from their gait. Chomko is interested in seeing how pockets of memory captured by streetlights, might become playable spaces.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/light-memory

Pipe Dream | George Zisiadis | San Francisco, US

Something has possessed our city infrastructure. Across the city tangles of pipes have burst from the ground, their dozens of colourful valves and levers stick out like flowers. Adjusting them releases not water, but light and music. The pipes have transformed themselves into collaborative musical instruments. And they’re waiting for us to play with them. Pipe Dream is an interactive musical sculpture built from actual piping. It reimagines cities’ most utilitarian and intimidating elements as exuberant and inviting opportunities for interaction. It gives pedestrians permission to tamper and play with parts of the city that are normally off limits.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/pipe-dream

Press Play / Toca Aí | Laura Kreifman (Guerilla Dance Project) with Natasha Chubbuck, Filipe Caligario & Thaís Vidal | Bristol & Brazil

Press Play or ‘Toca Aí’ – is a project that creates musical interventions that animate public spaces. Based around impromptu and transitory moments of collaborative musical play, Press Play links strangers to each other, individuals to urban space and creates moments of surprise, delight and connection. Press Play works by installing simple, touch sensitive panels in any public space. Each sensor is programmed with a musical track, which will play when touched. Multiple sensors can be touched to play more layers of sound, but to play a whole piece, to remix music, or improvise with sounds, it is essential for several people to play together.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/press-play

Shark in the Puddle | Ludic Rooms | Coventry, UK

Weather is universal and us Brits are obsessed with it. Our climate affects us and makes us play; we hug the shadows to stay cool in the summer sun, we jump in puddles and count the gaps between thunder and lightning. Ludic Rooms want people to feast in this chaotic explosion and participate in the production of their city. Shark in the Puddle is a collection of freely-distributed interventions in the city. Ludic Rooms will collaborate with the people of Bristol to create an arsenal of open ‘disposable’ artworks that gradually inhabit the city, changing daily based upon the ecosystem: sun, rain, wind, day, night. This might include sonic challenges powered by 3D-printed mechanical turbines, a giant stencilled shark game that appears on the ground only when puddles form or a photo challenge that appears in shadows from streetlights. This is all about open play in open spaces.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/shark-in-the-puddle

Transportals | Fred Deakin | London, UK

This project will transform a series of locations across Bristol into pockets of interactive audio-visual art that will invite Bristolians to re-experience their daily environment as one of joy and play. These Transportals are carefully placed in corners, junctions and edges of otherwise mundane architectural sites across the city: they are located in areas that are well populated, making them easily discoverable during everyday life. Each site will display a projection-mapped graphic animation designed to gracefully transform the architectural feature into a playful object, and will also have accompanying music created for each location. Once discovered by a passersby in their basic “sleep” state, the installations will come to life and respond to proximity and body movements. http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/transportals

VVTC | Dan Dixon | Auckland, New Zealand

Subverting surveillance technology, VTCC puts the public in control of playful security cameras across the city. The cameras react to the public in interesting and unpredictable ways. Using IR sensitive cameras and simple image recognition algorithms they will move, flash lights or play sound to attract attention to themselves and act atypically like CCTV cameras. The cameras have a distinctive look and personality created in collaboration with a street artist. Working with the VTCC team, the artists define how the cameras behave, how they look and the ways they interact with people. Some may have painted vegetables dangling from servos, others may have laser pointers and disco balls. As if existing cameras have been transformed by a splodge of exuberant art.  Importantly the cameras watch, but never transmit. They eat their own video feeds.

http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/2014/shortlist/vvtc

The winner of the Playable City Award will be selected by a panel of judges, which includes Google Labs’ Tom Uglow, Hide&Seek founder Alex Fleetwood and last year’s winners PAN Studio’s Ben Barker and Sam Hill. The winner will be announced on 9 June 2014, followed by three months of development with the Pervasive Media Studio based at the Watershed in Bristol. The final projects will be unveiled at the inaugural ‘Making the City Playable’ Conference in Bristol in the autumn of 2014.

The Playable City Award and ‘Making the City Playable’ conference is produced by Watershed and co-funded by an expert network of organisations interested in exploring the future of creativity, technology and citizenship in urban spaces. The partners are: Future Cities Catapult, University of BristolUniversity of the West of England and Bristol City Councilwith support from Arts Council England.

The conference is co-produced by Watershed and Bristol Festival of Ideas in association with the Digital Cultures Research Centre from the University of the West of England.

Find out more: www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity | http://twitter.com/playablecity