Route 12:36 is a series of works commissioned by the South London Gallery for presentation on London Central Routemaster Buses. The brief was to create an interactive artwork in the advertising poster spaces on buses. Blast Theory created a low-tech interactive work for the No.36 bus, which comprised of four posters.
Each poster shows a photograph from in and around various cities: some with people in the shot and some deserted. In each of the four pictures a different question was asked, for example “ What do you fantasise about on the bus?” or “Describe a stranger you once saw and have never forgotten”. This is followed by the text “ Call 0800 917 9158 to give your answer and to listen to others”.
For the duration of the work Blast Theory sat at the end of the line connecting live calls to recordings. In Route 12:36, the bus passenger has the option just to read the question and consider their answer; or to call the number, record their answer and listen to other peoples. It operated somewhere between being a Samaritan or missing person hotline, a confessional and work contemplating our relationships with friends, lovers and strangers in the city.
Route 12:36 uses the city as backdrop, the bus journey as the duration of the experience and the phone as a delivery method. It follows our interest in the boundaries between the public and the private, and how our social interactions evolve as our experiences with technologies change.