21 BALANÇOIRES (« 21 Swings »)

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Walter and I had just finished a wonderful sushi dinner in downtown Montreal when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a row of illuminated swings. Never one to pass up the opportunity to please my inner child, I sprinted towards the swings and hopped on.

I immediately noticed that each swing plays a note from a different musical instrument. It took some practice, but Walter and I began swinging in unison and the battling notes turned into music, getting better as we swung higher. We got a lot of smiles from passersby, and, frankly, it was the highlight of my week in Canada.

When we returned home, I wanted to learn more about the installation. I found out two artists, Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat Luc-Alain Girardeau, collaborated on the project to create an interactive space, i

n a very busy area of the city, for people to connect.

A statement from the artists: “I hope that they let themselves be carried away by the magic of the performance that comes to life with their participation. And the reflection that it sparks in people, like how we can work together in this context to create something beautiful, that could maybe apply a lot of other contexts where we want to come together to make something better.”

This is the third year in a row that 21 Swings (21 Balançoires au français) – “street furniture and a game” – has been brought back, and it runs until June 2nd. With all the joy it brings to the locals and tourists, and its beautiful message, I would love to see a similar installation in New York, and I hope it catches on across the globe.

I couldn’t capture our harmonious swinging on camera, as I was too focused on staying on the swing, but I did film a short clip of Walter. Oddly, it wasn’t planned for him to jump off at the end, but his timing was parfait.

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