If you’ve been strolling past the Google HQ development site in Kings Cross recently and noticed a lot of LED screens issuing strange words from the sites hoardings, please don’t be alarmed, it’s just Google getting creative. The interactive installation which uses Google Speech software to turn commuters’ words into random lines of poetry through a system of street-level microphones and 17 LED screens which display the spoken words. The piece is running as a promotional tool for the Knowledge Quarter’s Curious Arts Festival which took place over the bank holiday weekend.
The idea was picked from a number of competition entries proposed by students from University of the Arts London’s Central St. Martins, based on the criteria that the design should be “an interactive experience for the Kings Cross community”. The winning concept is the joint creation of CSM students Laura Ventura Ricart, Yunqi Cai and Emily Kimura.
Speaking about the project, Laura Ventura Ricart explains that, “We saw Poetrics as an opportunity for people to have a collective and meaningful experience playing with language and the absurd, just as the Dada did in their surrealist game ‘the Exquisite Corpse’.”
Google’s Head of Communications for Europe, Peter Barron, also weighed in, saying “Thousands of people pass by our development site at Kings Cross every day so we wanted to create an experience which would help bring them together. We loved the idea from the students to produce randomly created poetry as passers-by talk into the installation.”
More than simply being an entertaining experience for passers-by, Poetrics projects an interesting idea about the way in which the urban environment can be more than just a site for practical buildings. Like most metropolitan cities, London is in a perpetual state of regeneration, with new scenes of scaffolding and hoardings popping up daily. For Google to use its own site as a canvas for creativity, using local artists and designers, sets a new precedent for the way in which big corporations can still support and stimulate artistic imaginations in the local environment.