Ouseburn Trust in collaboration with Newcastle University Urban Observatory will be welcoming during the summer an experimental digital furniture item, that will be deployed in Ouseburn Valley for three months trial. Originally developed by the Future Cities Catapult, this product is designed to test alternatives to conventional advertising screens, offering non-advertising content for and by local communities.

Four totems are planned to be installed in four different locations around Newcastle. Each of the Totems will provide dynamic context-aware local suggestions – a clever system that gets the local places and events information from publicly available sources on the internet. Depending on the weather conditions and time of the day, those places will be displayed on the map and in an hourly-updated recommendations list. So, all local cafes, tranquillity spots, heritage and events like music gigs, open house, lectures, drawing classes, book and knitting clubs, and many others will be featured on the Totem’s map.

Tech Totems will display very interesting information from sensors provided by the Urban Observatory science team. They are really keen to educate people about real time data of the local environment, with some curious facts that will help to understand the raw data from sensors. Currently sensors in the totem will measure air quality, noise levels, temperature and humidity, and even bat sensors that detect the exact type of species that inhabit the area. Tech Totem is an open experimentation platform, so if anybody has a research or experiment ideas for what else should be measured, or displayed, get in touch and we can try to make it happen!

In addition, the Tech Totem in Ouseburn Valley will operate as an exhibition space. The first project will be a display of photos from the Ouseburn Trust’s photo archive. Soon we should be able to allow other local artists and photographers to be displayed on the Totem’s screen. In the future, we think the Totems could be used for public consultations and as digital community notice board.

Call for designs

We believe each of totems should have a local feel and look. Although the Totems come in standard rectangular shape and a standard base colour, the outside of the Totem will be wrapped in vinyl that will be designed by each location. To support that intention we are opening a competition for the designs – it you would like to propose a design take a look at the details in the drawings below

Tech_Totem_tech_drawing-02.pdf-  shows dimensions and explains the structure and Totem’s parts.

Tech Totem-vinyl panels template.pdf – this is an editable vector file with 1:1 scale of the tech totem. White areas are panels where artworks could be placed. Areas in grey are going to remain open and reveal a base colour of the totem (base colour not yet confirmed)

Deadline and where to send proposals.