Open Citizens is a programme of activity by Ludic Rooms exploring how a playful approach to creative technologies in public space might drive new conversations around citizenship in the 21st century.
We take the approach that everyone can inform and develop creative ideas using technology, if given the right tools and the invitation. We have developed a speculative design process, with our own specially created playing cards to provide context and stimulate ideas. We make and remake ideas, using familiar materials and work with participants to refine concepts to the point that they can be produced as a working prototype.
Throughout 2017, we delivered our largest Open Citizens programme to date, engaging a community of creators, making work that sparks the imagination of local people. We were delighted to be awarded the West Midlands Tech Award for ‘Innovation in Arts and Culture’ for this project!
We hosted a series of workshops, working with different community groups to imagine how we could make Coventry a more friendly and playful city by placing interactive artworks in public spaces. Over 100 ideas came out of the workshops, and we then worked with the participants to create prototypes of some of these designs.
2. Exhibition and Events
We displayed 20 of the best prototypes at a two week exhibition in Coventry’s CET building to get feedback from the public and develop ideas further.
During the exhibition Ludic Rooms, together with IDP & Coventry University School of Art & Design held an Urban Room event; to explore how urbanists and artists to rediscover the city’s lost spaces.
3. Playable Artworks
We turned a handful of ideas that were developed during community workshops into reality when we hosted a takeover across the city centre with arts, technology and play.
Local people were invited to visit a special CanCan Capture booth to be filmed dancing, these were then digitally edited together to create a vast line of Coventry citizens dancing the CanCan!
The CanCan was shared online and in a large-scale projection on Coventry’s ring road.
The line of Coventry citizens dancing the CanCan demonstrates the warmth and friendliness of our city.
Motorised scooters were modified to respond to sound. The scooters have a microphone that reacts to sound, so that the louder you scream, the faster you go!
These scooters encourage people to let go of their inhibitions and enjoy the thrill, just by using their own voices.
City Centre Bins were modified with sensors and audio speakers so that when rubbish was chucked in, they responded with comical effects and rewarded people for their good behaviour.
The Nod Bins provide a talking point and local people can enjoy experimenting with different bins and their sound effects.
A modified bench to encouraged chat between strangers by rewarding conversation with warming seat pads and massages.
The Buddy Bench is a digital wellbeing generator – getting people talking, laughing and relaxing together.