Giant Musical Instrument Called ‘The Swings’ Lets You Play with Others

Arts & Culture

Illuminated installation for the Green Box Arts Festival in Colorado lets people make music with their bodies

Vashti Hallissey
  • 29 july 2014

Like many things in life, swinging is more fun when you do it with other people. That’s the lesson from The Swings, an interactive installation that plays music and lights up when in motion. The illuminated seats create audible tones that blend together when all used at the same time, making an improvised melody.

The Swings was created by Daily Tous Les Jours, a Montréal-based design studio that specializes in collective experiences. This ideology is clear from the installation, which the Studio describes as “an exercise in musical cooperation.”

The Daily Tous Les Jours website states:

When used all together, the swings compose a musical piece in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation. It’s a game where from the start you need to adjust to the actions of others.

The Swings premiered at the Green Box Arts Festival in Colorado this June and was set amidst mountains and surrounded by trees. The installation made this scenery even more enchanting, by inviting people to set aside their serious, workday personas and play on a massive musical swing.

The installation breaks down social inhibitions, encouraging people to play a game with strangers. By working in harmony, people can control the music and create a one-off composition.

The website explains:

The Swings allow participants to make music with their entire bodies, to connect to one another and to have a sense of ownership of public space due to the music they create. The result is a giant collective instrument that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds

The Swings also illustrates the importance of live experiences in an age when the screen dominates, by enabling people be part of the moment and to act spontaneously. This is not an experience you can participate with from behind a computer or on a mobile, it requires people to be present and respond to others in real world.


The project was inspired by 21 Balançoires (21 Swings), a huge collective instrument in Montreal that works in the same way. The studio created it in collaboration with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, an animal behavior professor from the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty, to show that “together we achieve better things than individually.

The Green Box Arts Festival is now over for another year but The Swings are set to go on an international tour, Daily Tous Les Jours will confirm upcoming destinations on its website.

The installation shows the power of live, shared experiences to create a sense of community and to let people have fun.

The Swings

[h/t] Freshome

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