The swingset orchestra


The swingset becomes an orchestra in this inspired interactive installation in the Quartier des Spectacles. It begins with a single note as the swing sways back and forth and escalates into arpeggios and melodies as you swing higher. There are seven sets of three swings each with different classical sounds to compose with. Go with friends or meet strangers in a mid-air duet.

A space as thoroughly designed as the QdS runs the risk of feeling impermeable and uninhabitable: without a few rough edges it can be hard to get a grip on a place. But the 21 Balançoires, like the place des spectacles fountains, invite us – or maybe even oblige us – to really experience the place.

On a Saturday afternoon, mums and dads competed with their young children to swing highest; a pair of French tourists invited passersby to complete their trio and then called on others to conduct them; two middle-aged women in hijabs cautiously pushed off the ground, and everyone was offering to take photos and videos of each other.


The installation brought to mind a comment left by Spacing Montreal reader MB on a post last week:

“As a taxpayer I hope all my taxes go to silly little things that remind people that life is whimsical and requires a sense of humor and mystery. Think of it: that way, YOUR tax money I guess goes to fixing pot holes or whatever it is you think it’s better to spend it on.”

The installation is supposed to be up until May 23rd but I hope it stays for the summer. Props to the artist-designers, Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat: you can read what they have to say about the project here.

Not the greatest quality video, but it gives you a sense of the swing-music, mingling with delighted shouts and rumbling buses. The underside of each bench features bright fluorescent lights for nighttime swinging.


  1. What a great idea. It’s things like this that makes me love this city. The fountains were wonderful too. This is one thing this city does like no other city.

  2. awesome. check out:
    for more public urban space art installations that this work reminds me of. 

  3. lovely, i really enjoyed the music and the fun that the swingers were having.i would be happy to have an installation in my town.

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