Playscape – an open proposal for a distributed, digital playground

06 December 2012 | 0 comments

“We would like to give you the opportunity to submit your ideas in the manner that best suits your practice and are prepared to consider applications in virtually any format.”

Reflecting on this invitation (from the Playable City Award Guidelines), we thought about the nature of many application processes. NDA’d pitches in .pdf format, Arts Council applications that require 8000 word essays… Most application processes lock information and ideas away from view. As a studio, we love to blog and present our work – taking part in and benefitting from the endless sharing of knowledge and practice with fellow practitioners. We were in particular inspired by GDS’s publication of the Government’s Digital Strategy as an open, linkable document – presenting digital strategy in a digitally native form.

So our proposal for Playscape - a network of lightweight, robust digital screens situated around Bristol, acting as a source of many different types of interaction with the city – takes the the form of a WordPress-powered web page. We’ve linked our proposal to projects we’ve done, inspiration from other people’s work, and information that supports our idea and our ability to deliver. Pages are open to comments and feedback, and there is a specific call for ideas – ways others might seek to use Playscape if we were successful in bringing it to life.

It’s our belief that Playscape is something more than a one-off project. It is a digital infrastructure for public play. A digital element of the landscape, the content of Playscape can be developed, remixed, deconstructed and remade. We invite you to help us imagine how it could develop and the amazing things it could be used for.

Ruth Little, keynoting the Talent Development Symposium in 2011, spoke eloquently about the need for connection in the development of new forms of culture.

“Educationalists and cognitive scientists have argued for some time that talent doesn’t reside in the individual mind at all, but in the relationship between the individual and his or her environment. We’re only talented in a context.”

Hopefully this format enables us to show how this idea emerges from our own network, that of our studio, and the larger network of peers of which we are a part, and will come to show how the idea could flourish with its support.

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