OK, Glasgow, are you ready to take to the city streets and play Deviator?

Even if you don't go the whole hog – downloading the mobile phone app and interacting with the game play it offers you – chances are you'll still encounter acts of mischief in and around the city centre next week.

"We have this elite team of Deviators who are ready to play around, create these interventions – maybe by playing ball games or by doing repeated handstands – that interrupt the everyday fabric of city life here." The words themselves are interrupted by ripples of gleeful laughter as the speaker, Kelli McCluskey, allows her imagination to deviate off into all manner of possible outcomes when these pranksters come into contact with unsuspecting Glaswegians.

McCluskey and her fellow stirrer of provocative fun and games, Steve Bull, are co-founders and core members of pvi collective, an Australian outfit based in Perth. Deviator is the collective's latest project and it will get its first, full-length presentation during Surge, the festival of street arts, physical theatre and circus that Conflux stages in association with Glasgow's Merchant City Festival. For the past few days the pair have been walking round the city centre, eyeing up likely locations for Deviator activity: noting where the big brand name stores are, and the banks, because the "where" of mischief-making is as important as the actions that participants will be encouraged to do.

It's all fun, but fun with a carefully honed edge of savvy social awareness; provocation is the real name of the game here, and teasing people into thinking seriously about the context they live and work in is the underlying dynamic.

A score of locally recruited artists have, meanwhile, been in training with Bull and McCluskey at Conflux headquarters in the Briggait. These are the elite Deviators. Their presence on the early evening streets will flag up the onset of the Deviator game, as played by the individuals who have downloaded the necessary app to their smartphone. Don't worry if your own phone isn't smart enough, you can arrange to hire one when you book your ticket at the Arches.

Bull explains the idea is to have folk behave as if the city is really a playground. The Deviator app will show players where to find the games, but both Bull and McCluskey stress the choice of where to go, what to do and whether to do it or not stays with the player. How could it be otherwise?

Throughout the 15 years that pvi collective has been in existence, acting up on the streets of Perth (and beyond) like flurries of irritating grit or a sudden pebble in the shoe – anything to make people look again and think again, about the structures and strictures of urban living – they have used genial mayhem to advocate civil freedoms and transparency in local and state politicking.

"We've started to feel that there is no such thing as public space, it simply doesn't exist, not properly," says McCluskey. "And that's really what has kept us outdoors, year on year. Making work that tests social codes. Finding ways in which we can deviate around them, challenge them, confront them in some way. But it's getting harder and harder for us to do this in some supposedly public spaces. And how it shifts – some cities are more open than others. We've always felt Perth was a place where we could get away with just about anything, not that we're out to trash the city. Restrictions do start to creep in. But we're stubborn ..."

Not just stubborn, but hugely inventive. The 15 games the app users can access are mostly sly subversions of familiar children's games, such as spin the bottle or ring-a-roses. There is also a chance to do some guerilla gardening. "You can pick up a seed – it's in a biodegradable pill – and then plant it wherever you like" says Bull. "Maybe between the cracks in the pavement: go back sometime, see if it's actually growing. If nature has made it back into the urban equation."

Al Seed, artistic director of Conflux, and Alan Richardson, project director of Surge, have been listening in on all of this – nodding occasionally, but mostly looking content with what this commission has brought, not only to Surge on the streets, but to Conflux as a whole. Richardson reckons that when he met the pvi collective team in Adelaide 2010 he knew immediately they could bring something rare and valuable to Glasgow.

He's frank about his disenchantment with a lot of European street work. "I think it's become idle," he says. "Young companies in France are just reproducing the stuff I saw 20 years ago. Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy big, spectacular shows. Everyone does. But somehow it leaves people thinking street theatre isn't in the same category as indoor theatre. It's seen as frivolous. What pvi offer can be frivolous, on the surface. But it's serious, thought-provoking and intended to challenge complacency as well. And to have that on the streets of Glasgow is amazing. And well worth all the hassle of having to sort out permissions to do all these little interventions."

Seed adds that there is, in Conflux terms, a long-haul benefit to the workshop side of pvi's residency. "We have 20 local artists, all being pushed out of their usual comfort zones – it's the kind of hands-on training that will feed into their own future work. And Glasgow audiences will also get to engage with the kind of theatre they wouldn't normally see. How will they respond? We have no idea but I can't think of a better reason to do it."

Deviator runs from Monday-July 29 (not Friday). Details of times and Surge's outdoor and indoor programme at www.conflux.co.uk.