When we play together, we belong together.

Open Citizens is a series of projects by Ludic Rooms exploring how a playful approach to creative technologies in public space might drive new conversations around democracy and citizenship in the 21st century.

Coventry City of Culture Bid
Digital Artists in Residence

Throughout 2017, with generous support from the City of Culture Bid Event Sponsors and Arts Council England, we are delivering our largest Open Citizens programme to date.

We want to engage a community of creators, working with people to represent their experiences and creating work that sparks the imagination of local people.

We’ll be hosting a series of workshops in the Spring, working with different community groups to imagine playful interactive artworks that could transform people’s experience of travelling through Coventry. Then this autumn, we’ll be turning a handful of Coventry’s ideas into reality when we takeover the city with arts, technology and play for one magical week in October.

Latest updates from the OC blog…

Lots of thought provoking conversation about our City!

It's been great to see people wandering around the Open Citizen exhibition at the CET building over the last 2 weeks - there's been lots of thought provoking conversation about our City, what it would mean to be City of Culture 2021, and how play can create better...

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Open Citizens Ethos

Open Citizens is rooted in the vision of the Playable Cities movement. Play(able) is more than play(ful); the inherent agency empowers people. Play is voluntary, there is no forced play. We engage when we feel welcome, when we feel comfortable, when the invitation is right. When we play together, we communicate in new and familiar ways, we build relationships with people, we construct memories and connections with places.

Open Citizens acknowledges the ubiquity of connectivity as an invisible given. We challenge the rhetoric that declares digital technologies divisive in physical communities; people are more than appendages for their devices. Digital tools, like cities, should be open and accessible without prejudice.

Open Citizens denounces the black box mentality of the postdigital city. Every citizen matters, every co-creator is an expert, everyone plays and shares in the circle. When things are broken, we do not throw them away, we repair, we repurpose, we tinker. Play is protest, play is choosing not to contribute to the expectations placed upon us. Play transforms cities, the littoral pavement beneath our feet is reimagined in a new image of optimism. We own these places.

Open Citizens Process

Conversation

Open Citizens aims to transform the experiences of a city’s custodians. It is important that this process is driven by the needs and perspectives of communities. This is socially-engaged making, not parachuted spectacle. The first step is talking with people. We spend time with local people from all walks, in Coventry this process involved more than 300 people, piggybacking on public events and leading our own invited roundtable sessions. Felt-tips on maps, logging desire paths and the forgotten corners of the city. People’s memories of the city as passed and imagined futures not yet realised. Uncovering hyperlocal dialects of play offline and online.

Co-creation

The design design process is collaborative, speculative and tactile. We encourage hybrid opportunities for play in the city that utilise creative technologies but are fundamentally more interested in the human. Three cards randomly drawn from a unique Open Citizens deck help shortcut this process, giving flexible creative limitations centred around themes of place, interactivity and community. Groups are invited to respond on paper, then in 3D, using familiar materials to rapidly prototype and realise their concept. These models are then shared, explored and built upon to inform the final artworks. All co-creators receive an artistic credit.

Takeover

 Following a period of studio making with a group of associate artists, Ludic Rooms takeover the city with a suite of highly visible and stumble upon-able hybrid interactive artworks in spaces around the city. These experiences belong to the city, produced in dialogue with its citizens and shared with optimism for a new, open, playable future.