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Coventry city centre to be more 'playable' next week

Published Friday, 13 October 2017

Bins that burp, scooters that go faster when you scream and a bench that warms your backside when you talk are coming to Coventry next week and are designed to make the city more playable.

Animation of two people talking on the new bench that massages and warms your backside

Coventry-based arts organisation Ludic Rooms, which was appointed as Digital Artists in Residence as part of Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, is hoping to inspire fun and conversation when they take over the city centre from October 16 to October 22 with its Open Citizens project. 

Ludic Rooms, with support from Coventry City of Culture Trust and Arts Council England, engaged with more than 1,000 Coventry people over the summer to help devise works of art that would spark a sense of fun and humour across the city. 

Through that work, four different pieces have been created by Ludic Rooms for Open Citizens that will be shared with the public, starting on Monday (October 16). 

A Buddy Bench will be situated within Coventry Cathedral ruins and features warming seat pads and massages – but they will only be activated once people begin to talk to one another. 

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster features two motorised scooters that will be in Millennium Place on Thursday (October 19). The helmets will be hooked up with special microphones that will pick up the shouts and screams of the riders, which will control the speed of the scooters. 

Six Nod Bins will be placed in different locations around the city centre and, thanks to special modifications, they will react when people place rubbish into the bin by omitting a range of sounds from laughter to music and from a ‘thank-you’ to a burp. 

The most ambitious part of the week-long playable fun is the Neverending CanCan. The You Can-Can capture booth will be in different places each day with a green screen and a green mannequin and will get people to let go of their inhibitions to create a short clip of themselves dancing. 

These clips will be pieced together to create an infinite line of Coventrians dancing to the CanCan and it will be available to view online, with plans to project the finished article onto a building in a city centre location. 

Dom Breadmore, of Ludic Rooms, said: “Open Citizens is all about making the city a more playable place, to create fun, laughter and conversation. We want as many as people as possible to take part, enjoy the works and get Coventry playing!” 

Laura McMillan, Manager of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are delighted to have supported this project and that Ludic Rooms has taken the Digital Artist in Residency brief and come up with something, through consultation, that the whole city can enjoy.” 

Councillor Jayne Innes, Cabinet Member for City Services said: "I'm delighted that we have been able to support this project. Local people have come up with some genius ideas, as I knew they would. They are all great, but I'm especially excited by the bins that talk. I'm sure they will be great fun." 

Details of where each work will be and when are below:  

Nod Bins 

-          Monday, October 16 - Sunday, October 22: Six city centre locations

Buddy Bench 

-          Tuesday, October 17 – Sunday, October 22: Cathedral Ruins, 10am to 4pm. 

Scream If You Wanna Go Faster:  

-          Thursday, October 19: Millennium Place 2pm to 7pm. 

You Can-Can Booth: 

-          Monday, October 16 – Tuesday, October 17: Cathedral Lanes, 12pm to 5pm. 

-          Wednesday, October 18: Coventry Market, 10am to 4pm. 

-          Friday, October 20: Coventry University Library, students only. 

-          Saturday, October 21 – Sunday, October 22: Lower Precinct Shopping Centre, 10am to 5pm (Saturday) and 11am to 4pm (Sunday). 

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, CEF (City Electrical Factors) and Listers are also Bid Development Sponsors.  

To show your support for Coventry’s bid on social media, go to @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, log onto 


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