Lille Métropole 2020 World Design Capital

Inspired by the Ghost Signs project carried out in Dublin, students on the Culture and Communication MA programme have devised a research/​action project entitled Encoding memory”. The project entails gathering memories from around the Marais district in Lomme – an area transformed by the Euratechnologie excellence and innovation centre. 

Past urban, social and economic changes can be revealed through signs and other writing on walls, such as public advertisements, fly posting, graffiti and tagging found in the local area. These traces of the past offer a way to learn about a town’s history and emerging movements in order to recognise and preserve them. 

We want to explore urban signs and how they are encoded and decoded, by conducting interviews with local residents. Depending on the space, the signs are not the same, the architecture is different, just as the equally important installation of digital signs…”

How can we piece together the memory of an area ?

Working with a designer is a good way to devise and produce a tangible tool for piecing together this memory for residents in a practical, effective, user-friendly and trackable way. The feasibility of using QR codes linking to interviews in podcast form is currently being looked at. 

We wanted to find a way to have these QR codes in the public space, either directly on walls around the town with a hacking’ approach or finding another solution with our future design partner. Based on this, we want to create a narrated walk around Lomme like a guided tour during which each visitor or resident will be able to listen to testimonials from local residents about the written signs around the town.”


This Encoded memory” project is part of the collective Urbanités Numériques initiative.