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Forgotten Spaces Sheffield 2011: Shortlist – Guiding Lights by Chris Paterson

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Frog Walk, previously dark, isolated and foreboding, is brought to life by animated creatures which accompany travellers on their journey between Ecclesall and Sharrow

Frog Walk, previously dark, isolated and foreboding, is brought to life by animated creatures or ‘avatars’ which accompany travellers on their journey between Ecclesall and Sharrow.

An LED screen interacts with travellers by using motion sensors to track their movements and generate bright, colourful silhouettes which escort them along the path. Additionally, the silhouettes signal other persons approaching along the path, to reassure lone travellers at night.

A smart phone application can be used to communicate with the wall to choose and customise ‘avatars’. Alternatively, randomly generated silhouettes appear by default. As travellers pass each other on the path, the avatars interact; for instance by merging colours.

The concept is generally inspired by the lamp post at the top of Frog Walk, which is reminiscent of author C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia, whilst the avatars are inspired by the daemons in Phillip Pullmans ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.

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