These Magical Swings Make Collaborative Music

Shaunacy Ferro

In certain cities, the swing set is no longer just for kids. Inspired by a Montreal-based interactive swing installation, Swings: An Exercise in Musical Cooperation is now on tour in the U.S. After winning a grant from the Knight Foundation last year, the latest version just hit Detroit.

The installation is built around the idea of getting people to interact with their neighbors. When each swing moves, it triggers sounds as if you were hitting keys on a piano. You can swing alone and create music, but once another person joins, you have to work together to time out a pleasant melody. By interacting with your swing-set neighbor, you can create a complex tune. When you synchronize in certain ways with other swings, it activates specific melodies, a built-in reward for working together.

The undersides of the swings are equipped with LED lights, so at night, the swing set becomes even more fun.

See it in action in the video below, shot in Colorado:

As part of the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge program, the installation has already been to West Palm Beach, Florida, and will soon move on to San Jose, California.

And after that? Contact the creators to have the project swing by your town.

All images courtesy the Knight Foundation.