Reinventing the Public Bench With Collective Motion and Music
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 reinvents the public bench, encouraging slow, rocking, synchronous motions to bring a therapeutic quality to 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 aluminum arch. Interactive LED lights are integrated in the arch and under the seat to emphasize movement.
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 direction of travel. Volume is dictated by the speed of movement. 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.
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 first set of three benches were 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.
About Daily tous les jours
Daily tous les jours leads an emergent field of practice that combines interactive art, storytelling, performance, and urban design to reinvent living together in the 21st century. Working in partnership with municipalities, public realm programmers, and private sector clients, Daily tous les jours' interventions are designed to create unexpected experiences that bring strangers together in a spirit of play, cooperation, and creativity.