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21 Swings: Why Perfect Strangers Are Making Beautiful Music in Montreal
Posted: Fri 03/08/2013 08:00 AM
A new take on a favorite childhood pastime is allowing even complete strangers to make beautiful music together in downtown Montreal.
Each spring, 21 multicolored swings are placed in the city's entertainment district, Quartier des Spectacles. Each seat acts as a musical instrument. As people swing, prerecorded sounds from pianos and other instruments fill the air. The more neighboring swings work together, the more melodies and harmonies begin to form.
The installation is the brainchild of the award-winning French Canadian design group Daily Tous Les Jours. The intention of their project is to show we can achieve more together than we can alone.
The group worked with Université du Québec à Montréal professor Luc-Alain Giraldeau to explore the idea of cooperation. True cooperation is only achieved when an individual adjusts his or her behavior for the good of the larger group. With that in mind, Daily Tous Les Jours created the installation as a sort of game, where true teamwork is rewarded with "swing music" like no one has heard before.
"We tried to figure out, if we all went together at the same time, if we would change the music," one participant says. "And it did. It definitely felt like the tempo was moving with us."