12 Sep 2023
The creators behind the Musical Swings, Daily tous les jours, are taking the concept of collective motion to new heights with Daydreamer—a sculptural series of interactive, slowly rocking benches that compose gentle music and encourage synced-up choreographies.
Conceived to create a ritual around a moment of pause, the artwork stimulates a communal experience in a soothing soundscape.
\Daydreamer benches are scalable and customizable for diverse indoor and outdoor settings.
Can cities be built for collective daydreaming?
Daydreamer reinvents the public bench, encouraging slow, rocking, synchronous motions to bring a therapeutic quality to the public space.
Rocking is known to induce a state of daydreaming, reducing stress and anxiety, while synchronous activity, according to different studies, strengthens social attachment and empathy among a group well beyond the moment of coming together.
Components & Interaction
A set of revolving long benches host a sound and sensing system. Each bench accommodates up to four people and is finished in Canadian white oak, with a powder-coated aluminium arch. Interactive LED lights are integrated into the arch and under the seat to emphasize movement.
When people sit and push the benches to rock or spin, music and light animations are triggered through motion detection, merging analogue and digital movements. The benches rock in four quarters or rotate 360? with a bit more push from the user. People may sit on the bench or hold the arch from a standing position, or a wheelchair, to make music. No matter how people play, the mechanism inside the benches’ pivot centre ensures the motion is slow.
Voices & Collaboration
All the sounds of Daydreamer are recordings of the human voice. The notes that are sung depend on the position of the bench and the direction of travel. Volume is dictated by the speed of movement. By mapping multiple musical parameters to different physical states, a strong gestural link is created between body movement and music. Each bench occupies a slightly different musical register; soprano, alto, and tenor. Voices sing more complex partitions when benches are moved in synchronicity to encourage collaboration between players. The ensemble is an evolutive tapestry of tension, release, motion, and stillness.
Diversity & Inclusion
The artwork aims to create inclusive and diverse social spaces. Very slow bench rotations make for safe playing for elders and children alike. The bench can be turned by holding the arch, easing the music-making exercise for those in wheelchairs. A resulting soft spectacle mixing sound, movement, and light soothingly offers sensory diversity. Daydreamer stimulates a wide range of informal connections by inviting a very wide audience to explore and connect through joy.
Known for creating free, playful outdoor and interactive urban installations that spark joy within public spaces, Daily Tous les jours has been pioneering the importance of play and its positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The Daydreamer installation invites members of the public to interact directly with the work. It provides a simple ritual around a moment of decompression so that, as per the title of the work, the public’s imagination is called into play, and the public space becomes a place of relaxation for urban dwellers.
A first set of three benches was installed in the city of South Bend, Indiana (US) as part of revitalization efforts to reconnect citizens to their riverfront. The kinetic musical benches allow passers-by to tune in to the natural landscape while creating a new space for calm and collaboration in the city.