“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.

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


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