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News: Innovative technology, arts and culture
If statues could talk what stories would they tell?
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Talking Statues

12 month project in London

Talking Statues is a 12 month project using playwrights, actors and mobile technology to put words into the mouths of 40 public statues around London and Manchester. Pass a ‘Talking Statue’, swipe your smartphone on a nearby tag and – hey presto – your phone rings: Joan of Arc is on the line!

Sherlock Holmes, Isaac Newton, Peter Pan, Queen Victoria – as well as Hodge the Cat, a goat and Dick Whittington’s cat are some of the statues to find a voice in London. In Manchester, LS Lowry and Alan Turing are among those who have speaking parts.

This project sets out to explore how Near Field Communication (NFC) has the potential to overcome barriers to culture and the arts by animating public spaces and forging new cultural links to engage audiences. For example, a statue of Samuel Johnson might link the user to the British Library’s copy of Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language.

NFC’s potential also lies in its ease of use. Unlike QR codes (which require users to download a reader then scan a 2D barcode) NFC enables content to be streamed directly from the web via a wireless network (3G, 4G, Wi-Fi). Through Talking Statues, the swipe of a smartphone enables spontaneous and immediate access to artistic experiences in public spaces. Aiming to reach at least 100,000 users, Talking Statues will create public benefit by:

Fostering interest, and overcoming potential barriers to arts and culture by fusing innovative technology with imaginative content in public locations

Engaging new audiences for the culture sector, including younger, more technically orientated audiences, and disabled people.

Talking Statues is a collaborative project between SING London, Antenna International and the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG).

Fostering interest, and overcoming potential barriers to arts and culture by fusing innovative technology with imaginative content in public locations.

Engaging new audiences for the culture sector, including younger, more technically orientated audiences, and disabled people

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