Detroit, New York, San José, US | Singapore, SG | +
Quartier des spectacles, Montréal, CA
Musical Swings is an urban interactive installation that stimulates human connections in public spaces. Imagined as a collective experience, the work invites people of all ages and backgrounds to make music together. It’s an intuitive game, where cooperation between participants unlocks secret melodies, encouraging collaboration and an active awareness of others.
Created in 2011, the installation has become a celebrated icon of Montreal’s entertainment district, returning seasonally every spring. As a result of its success, a touring version of the Musical Swings was created and has been travelling the world, receiving a number of international awards and recognitions. A new permanent version of the work is also available for cities around the world.
A living piece of art
Cooperation is rewarded when participants swing in synchronicity; triggering secret, more complex, melodies. This collaborative exercise encourages intuitive play and experimentation without requiring any musical knowledge, allowing the public to become co-authors of a constantly evolving composition.
To develop the interactivity of the project, Daily studied the concept of cooperation with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, biology professor, expert on animal behavior and Director General of the INRS: “Cooperation emerges when the behaviour of each individual depends on the decisions of the rest of the group: it’s a game where, from the start, you need to adjust to the actions of others.”
Participants reported feeling like they were making music with their entire bodies; surrendering themselves unexpectedly to this collective performance, almost as if by magic!
Best in Show
Interaction Design Awards (IxDA)
UNESCO Creative Cities Design Awards
Knight Cities Challenge for Civic Innovation
The swings are a joyful experience, their rhythms create melodies through technology and cooperation, almost as if by magic. The experience is transcendent.
Collective experiences have the power to break down the social barriers that prevent us from interacting in public space. The cooperative nature of the installation transforms unusual and underused sites into thriving destinations that are welcoming for all. Over time, new urban habits are adopted by the public, creating a new sense of ownership over the shared space. When asked about the Musical Swings, participants have repeatedly testified to feeling renewed pride for their city.
For the Musical Swings 2016 tour in the United States, Daily commissioned an independent study to analyze the economic and social impact of the temporary installation. The following are some highlights from the report.
* Study conducted during the 2016 US Tour: West Palm Beach, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; San José, California. With the support of the Knight Foundation.