Starting Thursday, Feb. 12, you can can “wake up” lamp posts, mail boxes, hydrants, or even buildings all over Austin and discover what these objects have to say. The hidden life of Austin’s street furniture will come to light with Hello Lamp Post, an art project created by London-based designers Pan Studio. You will be able to strike up conversations with familiar objects by texting.


People can interact with any object they choose, in any part of the city, because the project utilizes the thousands of pre-existing identifier codes that label items of street furniture, including (but not limited to) lamp posts, mail boxes, moontowers, utility boxes, manholes, or telephone poles. Watch this short video to see how this works.

–> How to Play

Step 1: Choose an item of street furniture with a unique reference code – a code can be a combination of numbers and letters, such as a serial number.

Step 2: Send a text message to the Hello Lamp Post phone number, 512-580-7373, with a message in the format “Hello OBJECTTYPE #OBJECTCODE”. For example: “Hello lamp post #402455” or “Hello moontower #BS2032.”

Step 3: Follow the conversation – you should get a reply text soon. Answer the object’s questions and learn what other people have said.

After your first conversation, you can still keep playing. Hunt down and wake up as many objects as you can, or return to the same objects for more in-depth conversations. Different objects will ask you about different things and, as more people play, objects develop personalities and share stories that were anonymously given to them by other players.  The project is free to anyone, but standard text messaging rates apply.

The project has been commissioned by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department in celebration of the Art in Public Places program’s 30th anniversary year, and in partnership with Art Alliance Austin.

Sounds fun!