diamond geezer

 Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bus-Tops: The Olympics isn't only about sport, oh no, it's also about bus shelters. As part of the Cultural Olympiad, twelve regional art projects are being developed in the run-up to 2012. And in London that means bus shelters. The plan is to design electronic panels to sit on the roof of various bus shelters across the capital, for the delectation and delight of top deck passengers passing by. It's a brilliant idea, obviously (unless perhaps it isn't). The panels will be in place from July 2011 until after the Paralympics, and will consist of a timber frame surrounding a monochromatic electronic screen. The screen will face upwards (with no more than a gentle off-vertical slant) to ensure that nobody gets a decent view of the display unless they're looking from above. To add a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, each installation will contain a microphone, light sensor and/or rain sensor, to allow the electronic art to react to its surroundings. There's a suitably pretentious "concept overview" available here, which has some enlightening illustrations if you can stomach your way through to the end. Obviously somebody's got to decide what images will be shown on those screens, and that'll be you the general public later in the development process. But there's another key question you can help with now, which is whereabouts the art should be installed. The team want you to pick your three favourite bus shelters and let them know which they are. You can't pick any old bus stop, because there has to be a shelter, and you can't pick any old bus shelter because only a certain number of possibles are on the map. But yes there's a map, and once you've registered you can select shelters and vote for them and maybe add a reason why you chose them too. So far I haven't found a single bus shelter with more than one vote, and the site's been up for months, so your vote could easily swing things for your favourite stop. I have noticed a potential flaw, however, which is that not all of the selected locations are served by double decker buses. I'm quite tempted to vote for the bus shelter at Ruislip Lido, or Cudham Village, or Havering-atte-Bower, safe in the knowledge that any electronic screen installed on its roof will go unwatched for a year. Meanwhile my local bus stops at Bow Church, passed by an upstairs audience of hundreds daily, aren't even on the list. Anyway, feel free to take the Bus-Tops map by storm, then maybe future top deck passengers will be able to grin at shelter-roof art because you put it there.
Thursday update: Alfie from Bus-Tops has posted a lengthy response in the comments box.

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