Daily Tous les Jours, a Canadian interaction design group, creates wonderful multi-disciplinary media projects in public spaces. According to the designers, the idea is to harness mass participation to create one-of-a-kind musical events. At the same time, they also totally change the character of public spaces, getting people to have fun.
The group just created 21 Balancoires, a “giant collective instrument” for Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles festival (see video above). For the piece, people swing to activate the music. They write: “When in motion, each swing in the series triggers different notes and, when used all together, the swings compose a musical piece in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation.”
Daily Tout les Jours worked with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, an animal behavior professor from the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty, to explore how cooperation really works and how to make it happen. Their research found that “cooperation emerges when the behavior 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.”
The groups’ other recent projects are equally as amazing, and pretty funny, too. For the Minnesota State Fair, the group created Giant Sing Along, which used a field of 32 microphones, welcoming attendees of the fair to “sing their hearts out, karaoke style, celebrating the magic of singing together.” In this mass singing experience, “participants connect with one another, building upon the contagion of this uplifting activity and sharing in a collective musical experience. Beyond beautiful voices, it’s about living a communal experience.” And it was designed to make everyone sound great: Apparently, sound processing software was used to “auto-tunes the voices, lightly adjusting the pitch and reverb so that anyone, even the ones less skilled at singing, can sound good.”
In Radio of Songs, which was presented at a festival in Berlin, a unique “capsule installation” captures our collective “ear worms,” those songs you just can’t get out of your head. “According to mores, there are two cures for ‘ear-worms’: either singing the song aloud or listening to the song.” Anyone passing-by could slip their heads inside and let out their inner Barbara Streisand or Neil Diamond. The songs are immediately collected using an “automated telephone system,” which visitors to the installation call to get directions on how to record their performances.
Lastly, one of their non-musical pieces worth highlighting takes the typical amusement park end-of-ride photo opportunity, but makes it urban. In Memorama, a series of observation platforms offer access to “hidden landscapes” where people can create their own postcards.
Image credits: Daily Tout les Jours