Montreal, February 20, 2014 – The 21 Balançoires installation has become a springtime ritual on Promenade des Artistes. The famous work has won numerous awards and earned a permanent place in Montrealers’ heart. In a word, it has become an iconic part of Quartier des Spectacles. It is set to return for the fourth year in a row, to be enjoyed by the public from April 8 to June 1.
This interactive installation – part game, part street furniture – invites passers-by to take part in a unique musical collaboration experience. Each swing triggers a musical note, and several swings moving at once create a melody. When everyone coordinates their swings, ever more elaborate melodies emerge. At nightfall, the 21 swings are illuminated to create a ballet of dancing points of lights.
“As soon as the swings are installed, the promenade springs back to life and is transformed into a welcoming space that changes our relationship with the city. At first, this was supposed to be a temporary installation, but the public’s enthusiasm and the colour the installation adds to the Quartier led to a change of plans,” said Jacques Primeau, chair of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.
The fascination with the installation extends well beyond its home city. In December 2013, 21 Balançoires won the Grand Award of the Shenzen (China) Design Awards for Young Talents, placing first among 150 projects originating in 16 UNESCO creative cities.
21 Balançoires was also praised at the Interaction Design Awards in January 2013, an international event where it won Best in Show as well as first prize in the Engaging category.
The work has gone viral on the Internet and attracted notice from numerous international publications. Users from around the world have been charmed by the installation’s playful and inventive nature and by the way it transforms the urban environment. 21 Balançoires was also featured on television by Oprah Winfrey, giving it still more international exposure.
A DAILY TOUS LES JOURS CREATION
This digital artwork was created specifically for Quartier des Spectacles by the Montreal-based design team of Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat of Daily tous les jours.
“We were looking for new types of interactivity to encourage public participation,” they explain. “The idea of swings came very early on, because it is an intuitive interface. People immediately know what to do. By placing the swings in an urban setting, but not in a playground, we convey the idea that this is a liberated space, a place where you can let yourself go, enjoy a return to childhood, right downtown. Music is an integral part of how people play with the installation, and it encourages interaction.”
For 21 Balançoires, the designers worked with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, a professor of animal behaviour in the Faculty of Science at UQAM with whom they studied issues related to cooperation, and composer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh.
Each swing reproduces the sound of one of the following instruments: piano, guitar, harp and vibraphone, each identifiable through a colour code. Different notes are played by swinging to different heights.
Promenade des Artistes, Quartier des spectacles
Between De Maisonneuve Blvd. and Président-Kennedy Ave., behind Place des Arts
APRIL 8 TO JUNE 1, 2014
Sunday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
DAILY TOUS LES JOURS
Known for its collaborative creative experiences presented in public spaces, Daily tous les jours is a design studio with core interests in new ways to interact and tell stories. Its multidisciplinary projects combine participation, design and technology in many forms: urban interventions and planning, exhibitions, products, spatial design, events, software applications, film. In addition to the awards won for 21 Balançoires, the two co-founders have been recognized for their creations in Europe and the Americas. Daily tous les jours is also behind the public art installation Chorégraphies pour des humains et des étoiles designed for the Rio Tinto Alcan Planétarium, where it was unveiled in January 2014.
LE QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES
Quartier des Spectacles is Montreal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues. The district is the year-round host to countless festivals and events, many of which include free outdoor shows and activities.
The Quartier also hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design, immersive environments or interactive digital spaces. Year round, the Quartier presents artistic video projections on several building façades. Quartier des Spectacles is an international showcase for new multimedia technology, making Montreal a global leader in the urban exhibition of digital content. For more information, visit quartierdesspectacles.com.