Create Musical Harmonies By Playing On This Lighted Swing Set

Create Musical Harmonies By Playing On This Lighted Swing Set
Arts & Culture

An art installation in Montreal explores cooperation through playful movement.

Allie Walker
  • 17 september 2012

A new installation in Montreal encourages passersby to create music with swings; each swing on the 21 seat set plays a pre-recorded sound, but when swingers coordinate their moves, the swings work together to create a harmony.

Designed in collaboration between Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat of the art collective Daily Tous Les Jours and Luc-Alain Giraldeau, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty, ‘21 Balançoires‘ sits in front of the Université Science Center and is as much as an experiment in human behavior as it is art installation:

The installation offers a fresh look at the idea of cooperation- the notion that we can achieve more together than alone.

When people swung alone on the colorful, illuminated swings, a single sound would play–a touch of a piano key, a strum of a harp, or a hit of a note on a xylophone. But when swingers pumped their legs together, swinging back and forth in unison, sounds would unlock, creating complex melodies. If all 21 swings moved in a coordinated effort, a secret song would play.

In an interview with Quartier Des Spectacles, Mongiat speaks to the decision to create a large-scale swing set to experiment with the idea of urban collaboration:

Everywhere in the world, there’s always movement around swingsets. It’s a peaceful way of appropriating public space. You can see that pretty much everywhere, throughout big cities. When we saw the vitrines, we wanted to hang swings off of them, to give people a chance to play between two traffic corridors.

There necessarily has to be some kind of conncetion between people, by looks, by reactions, by adjustment… What people are going to hear will depend on what everybody does. And that’s the part that, for us, is fascinating: we’re in the middle of downtown, passersby don’t know each other, and we’re excited to see how they react and cooperate!

Watch ‘21 Balançoires‘ in action below and scroll through the gallery for more images of this playful installation:

 Daily Tous Les Jours

all images: Olivier Blouin

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