Interactive art project invites others to talk to inanimate objects


It is as simple as texting the number, 512-580-7373, and saying “Hello Austin.”

For the past couple of weeks, objects all across Austin have been coming to life with Hello Lamp Post Austin.

Since Feb. 12 and through April 27, Austin will be part of a public art project originally launched in Bristol, England by PAN studio. 

The goal of Hello Lamp Post is to allow people to interact with the city in a different way through inanimate objects and text messages.

The City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program commissioned the idea and has partnered with Art Alliance Austin to bring it to life. Austin is the second city to participate in the project.

Holly McDaniel, director of development at Art Alliance Austin, explained the project is a way for the community to interact with public art in a new way.

“It’s a citywide art project. It asks the city, or the people who live here in Austin, to interact with it in a different way,” McDaniel said. “So you get to stop and talk to a lamp post, a park bench, anything that is a city structure that has a serial code on it. You can interact and be silly and do something you’ve never done before.”

It is as simple as texting the number (512) 580-7373 and saying “Hello Austin.”

Outdoor objects will have a serial number on them and you can send a text saying, “Hello tree #number.”

There are objects all over the city that Austinites can now text and have a conversation with. 

There are even a few right on the St. Edward’s University campus. Sorin Oak is just one example.

Chloe Crumley, senior at St. Edward’s, was able to have a conversation with one of the fire hydrants on campus. 

It asked her about her allergies and her favorite place to vacation.

“I love that it gives life to inanimate objects,” Crumley said. “It’s really neat, it’s like the world is alive.”

Different objects will talk to you about different things. Parking meters will ask you if you see any badly parked cars. 

Lamp posts will ask you if you are afraid of the dark. 

Some objects will have already been “woken up” and tell you about what other people have said to them. Others will have already established personalities.

Some established personalities around Austin are the Capitol Building, City Hall and Barton Springs.

Hello Lamp Post is an official South by Southwest project and there will be two events during the festival and another big event during Art City, Art Alliance Austin’s art festival.

So what are you waiting for?

Go interact with the city!