Winner of Smart Oxford Playable City Commission will map the night sky onto the streets of Oxford

Published: Wednesday, 2nd August 2017

The winner of the Smart Oxford Playable City Commission is award-winning Guerilla Dance Project, who will encourage people to activate beams of light to map star constellations onto Oxford's streets.

Last month, Watershed and Smart Oxford unveiled the shortlist of six projects, selected from 82 applications from artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners from 28 countries around the world who had proposed new and distinctive ideas to respond to the theme Shared City.

Star Light, Star Bright maps the night sky onto the streets of Oxford via pressure sensitive lights embedded in the ground.  Placed in clusters across the city, the lights encourage players to gather together to map constellations from the night sky. Each “star” will shine brighter as more are activated, until the final star cues super bright beams of light – bathing the people beneath in a constellation of stars. This city-wide intervention brings life to dark, winter streets connecting strangers for a shared moment of discovery and wonder.

Laura Kriefman, founder of Guerilla Dance Project, said: “We are so excited that Guerilla Dance Project have been awarded the Smart Oxford Playable City Commission. Having been actively involved in the Playable City movement for years, it is great to be able to create a city-wide piece in the UK. Guerilla Dance Project can't wait to make the stars shine bright, for all the citizens of the beautiful City of Oxford.”

The judges were particularly excited by opportunities for connection between the diverse populations who live, visit and work within Oxford and the connection to Oxford’s history of space exploration from Radcliffe Observatory to the European Space Agency at Harwell. As winners of the Award, Guerilla Dance Project will receive £30,000 and guidance to help realize their ideas. The winning idea will be unveiled in Oxford in Winter.

Lord Heseltine, chair of the Judging Panel, said: “I was delighted to chair the Smart Oxford Playable City Commission judging panel.  I enjoyed working alongside my fellow judges and learning about the interesting and innovative ideas from the shortlisted projects. Star Light, Star Bright is a worthy winner and I look forward to the installation being launched in Oxford.”

Hilary O’Shaughnessy, Lead Producer, Playable City, said: “We are delighted to work with Guerrilla Dance project on delivering Star Light, Star Bright. From dancing cranes to robot activated dancing, Guerrilla Dance Project have consistently delivered exciting playable projects that are accessible, inclusive and unexpected. We look forward to dancing together under the stars in Oxford this November.”

Francesca Perry, Editor, Thinking City and member of the Judging Panel, said: “Star Light, Star Bright is a perfect and playful installation for Oxford and its participatory element really reflects the "shared city" theme, as friends and strangers alike will make the constellations glow bright. For me its inclusivity was key: all ages, all abilities, all communities can engage and play with it’

Sebastian Johnson, Vice-Chair of Smart Oxford and Principal Economic Development Officer at Oxford City Council, said: “We are excited to announce Star Light, Star Bright as the winner of Playable City, and look forward to working with Guerilla Dance Project to deliver a spectacular installation in Oxford. The project will bring people together to look up and explore the stars, and we hope to use it to highlight Oxfordshire’s strong links to the country’s growing space industry.”

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The Oxford Playable Cities competition has attracted exciting entries from across the globe but we are pleased to see Star Light Star Bright as the worthy winner.

“We know that this project will capture the imagination of those who live, visit and work in and around Oxford. Bringing smart technology and thinking to new and existing audiences helping to put Oxford and Oxfordshire at the heart of influencing how future cities will interact with citizens.”