A TALE OF TWO CITIES was a public intervention that attempted to link two coastal cities in England, Morecambe and Brighton, through a simple digital gesture. Part of Hack Morecambe Festival and Brighton Digital Festival, it featured 10 QR code signs installed in selected streets across each city.
The project was an opportunity to experiment with public work, from developing an idea for specific sites to liaising with festivals and local councils. It provided experience on practical skills through proposals, site visits, research, copywriting, graphic design, outsourced fabrication, installation and deinstallation.
The process began around July when a proposal was developed and submitted to the festivals which had a digital thread related to ongoing themes within the practice. Both were accepted which began a process of production and coordination over a few months.
One of the main challenges was location. Both cities were a considerable distance away from my base in Greater London, which meant some travelling on a few separate occasions for necessary site-visits, installation and deinstallation.
In addition to extensive online research, remote communication was crucial for logistics in cooperation with festival organisers who were kind enough to provide assistance and support whenever possible.
Another key consideration was permission. The public nature of the concept required the support of local authorities, who had the power to remove any installations on the streets. A proposal was submitted to attach the signs on specific poles, which was later approved following several weeks of discussions with various relevant departments.
It was costly and time-consuming at times, but the project materialised in the end and ran for more than a month. And despite several variables it felt worthwhile because I believed in the idea and was determined to develop and experiment.
Furthermore, I was pleased to hear that the project made at least one impact when I was contacted by a local college, DV8 Sussex, who wanted to use the QR installations as a field work exercise for students in relation to their discussions on technology and culture.