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The Day Shadows Came Alive in the Streets of Bristol (Video)


The Shadowing project brought people face to face with the charming truth that it is hard to be alone in a city.

Walking down empty streets at night can be a spectral experience (if not, ask Charles Dickens). The streetlamps and their respective shadows, the forms that multiply on the wet sidewalk, the ghosts of those who have passed that way before. One can only think of the thousands who have walked this route and the thousands who will walk it afterwards. In 2014 one of the most outstanding experiments regarding the idea of a pedestrian as ghost was carried out in Bristol, England: Shadowing.

The project, carried out by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier offers a brilliant glimpse of the life of those “anonymous others” – and which won them the Playable City competition. Shadowing filmed the shadows of pedestrians with an infrared camera and then projected them back onto the pavement a few seconds later under the streetlamps of Bristol. The result showed people the charming truth that, in a city, it’s difficult to be alone.

When a pedestrian walked beneath the light of certain street lamps in streets of few people they would see shadows walking beside them and while leaving a shadow to accompany future pedestrians. As well as creating a beautiful dance of the presence of others, the illuminating project also reinforced the social links between people who walk the same city. There is no walk that does not leave elusive traces on the map, and each shadow inevitably accompanies another.


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