Passeggiare a piedi lungo le strade di Bristol e passare sotto un lampione potrebbe trasformarsi in “un’ esperienza condivisa” con l’ombra di qualche visitatore del passato. Questa è la premessa “inquietante” di “shadowing” il nuovo “artwork” interattivo vincitore del Watershed’s Playable City Award 2014. Un premio riconosciuto ad artisti e creativi di tutto il mondo per la produzione di un’ opera d’arte sul concetto di “città come luogo di gioco, malleabile e spazi pubblici idiosincratici”. “Shadowing”, al momento installato su 8 lampioni di Bristol fino al 31 ottobre (questa la mappa delle locations), è stato creato dall’interaction designer canadese Jonathan Chomko e dal designer britannico Matthew Rosier. L’installazione gioca sulla nostra interazione con la città, un gioco in time-lapse fatto di luci e ombre che riproduce le ombre di passanti precedenti.Cool Hunting ha avuto anche la possibilità di fare un’intervista con i due designer.



How did “Shadowing” come about?


Matthew Rosier: Well, we started off by just thinking about the essence of the city, what it’s about—and people are what make a city relevant. We wanted to use human presence in some way and to augment that and then create further interaction.

Jonathan Chomko: Our hypothesis basically was that you go to a city to be around other people.


How does it work?


JC: It’s a projector, a camera and a computer, and the camera does some fancy image processing and uses the infrared spectrum—that’s what it images in—so it doesn’t see the projection that’s on the ground, just the things that are moving underneath. It isolates that movement, which becomes the shadow.

MR: And we especially found that the project had to be something very embedded, rather than an addition to the city.


There is a connection to CCTV and the recording of the individual in the public space, what has the reaction been so far?


MR: Some of the feedback has been, “Is this creepy?” But in a way, it’s almost counteracting that through what it does—through revealing the CCTV process, it’s actually in essence less creepy than CCTV.

JC: It’s quite fun and relaxed, and slow—it takes a while for things to happen.


How has it been working with Watershed on the project?


MR: Watershed were very brave, we were amazed all along the process.

JC: The technical solution we have now was the most ridiculous thing we could think of when we were pitching—like, “If all else fails, we’ll just stick projectors on streetlights,” and everyone around the table was like, “Oh yeah, it won’t come to that…”


And what will happens to the shadows after Halloween, when the project finishes?

MR: That’s a tricky question, because there’s a system—so we do get back GIFs of all the people who are walking underneath.
JC: It’s not something that we’ve designed as something to keep. If people could keep the shadows and share and find themselves on the internet, then it takes away from the interaction between the people in the street.