The Detroit 300 Conservancy, an affiliate of Downtown Detroit Partnership, today announced the installation of “The Swings: An Exercise in Musical Cooperation,” in partnership with Quicken Loans and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Swings are a travelling, interactive public installation, including 10 swings that play or compose music when participants activate them. The installation, which will be free to the public, opens in Detroit at Campus Martius Park’s Cadillac Square on April 7 and runs through May 8. The swings will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Swings, created by internationally renowned studio Daily tous les jours, provide an experiential example of cooperation, with the notion that we can achieve more together than separately. The installation consists of a series of musical swings, each emitting notes of a guitar, piano, vibraphone or harp when someone uses them. When used concurrently, the swings compose a synchronized musical piece in which certain melodies emerge through cooperation.
“The Swings offer the reality of collaboration as the exhibit exemplifies how each of our individual parts collectively create magic and cooperation,” said Robert Gregory, president of Detroit 300 Conservancy. “This is evident in the way the public, private and philanthropic community has come together to bring the installation to life and also how the public has embraced it making musical symphony among strangers.”
Since 2011, the original The Swings installation has attracted millions of fans to the Quartier des spectacles area in Montréal every spring, where each swing has swung an average of 8,500 times per day. The Swings cause vibrancy by bringing people together of all ages and backgrounds. This urban interface stimulates intuitive play and experimentation, and leads people to become aware of each other.
“Downtown Detroit embodies for us the resilience that is so critical for many urban centers across North America today,” said Mouna Andraos, co-founder of Daily tous les jours.
“It’s an inspiring example of a city that has had to reinvent itself drastically, and has been doing it through various, often innovative ways. We’re very honored to be able to contribute, albeit very modestly, to these renewal efforts through the presentation of The Swings. We hope that the project can help ignite, for the people of Detroit, a sense of what is possible for their city.”
The Swings are also made possible by Quicken Loans and Bedrock Detroit as part of their ongoing creation and support of innovative placemaking activations in Detroit. The installation will complement the daily food trucks, lunchtime acoustical music performances and colorful seating in Cadillac Square at Campus Martius Park prior to the busy summer season.
“Part of our larger vision of downtown Detroit is to attract, entertain and offer a one-of-a kind experience for those living, working and visiting our city. The Swings are among the most unique and intriguing attractions, only found in the country’s most vibrant and engaging urban spaces,” said John Marcicky, Quicken Loans Director of Placemaking. “We’re excited to kick off the 2016 programming season with a world-class experience that can be enjoyed by Detroiters and visitors alike.”
The activation is a 2015 winner of the Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of Knight Foundation, which seeks ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests, including Detroit, more vibrant places to live and work. The display comes to Detroit from West Palm Beach, Fla. for the second of only three stops on the 2016 U.S. tour.
“As cities seek new ways to engage residents in community building, the Swings project highlights the power of small interventions to bring new vibrancy to public spaces,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “It is an invitation for people from different backgrounds to meet, connect, and collectively create. As we continue to present opportunities for people to engage and interact, this project in musical collaboration utilizing a simple outdoor recreational activity exemplifies how each of our individual parts collectively create magic and cooperation.”
Along with Quicken Loans and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the installation is also made possible in cooperation with the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.
For more information on Campus Martius Park, please visit campusmartiuspark.org, or follow on Twitter at @CampusMartius or on Facebook at Facebook.com/CampusMartiusPark and on Instagram at campusmartiuspark. For more information on The Swings, please visitmusicalswings.com or follow on Facebook at themusicalswings and on Instagram at @musicalswings.
Follow the hashtags throughout the activation at #MusicalSwings, #DET, #MyDtwn, #DtwnDET.