Client: City of South Bend
Location: South Bend, IN, United States
Completion date: 2022
Daily tous les jours
Daily tous les jours
City of South Bend
Jacob Lorenz, Sébastien Dallaire
Can cities be built for collective daydreaming?
Rocking motions have been known to induce a state of daydreaming, proven to lessen stress and anxiety, while opening up the mind to be more intuitive and imaginative at finding solutions by simply letting go for a while.
Daydreamer is a new 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 in the urban realm, the artwork stimulates a communal experience in a soothing soundscape.
Three revolving long benches host a sound and sensing system. Each bench accommodates up to four people, 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.
When people sit on the benches, and start pushing them to rock or spin, the mechanism inside each of the bench’s pivot center ensures the motion is slow. The benches rock in four quarters, or rotate 360˚ with a bit more push from the user. Music and light animations are triggered through motion detection, merging analog and digital movements. People may sit on the bench or hold the arch from a standing position, or from a wheelchair, to make music.
In times of unprecedented urban population growth, densification, and increasing division, there is a pressing need to forge new modes of interaction in public spaces. While we are connecting in more and more toxic ways online, streets are becoming an important place where we connect directly to people outside the echo chamber, with no filters. Daydreamer reinvents the public bench to stimulate spontaneous collaboration between strangers, in a moment of relaxation.
A first set of Daydreamer was installed in the city of South Bend (US) as part of revitalization efforts to reconnect citizens to their riverfront. The kinetic musical benches allow people to tune in to the natural landscape, while creating a new space for calm and connection in the city.
The concept plays with rocking motions, known to induce daydreaming and improve mental health, and synchronicity. According to different studies, synchronous activity strengthens social attachments among the group well beyond the moment of coming together.
Daydreamer is another example of the studio’s dedication to inviting people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to make music together, through joy. We believe that joy builds trust, and trust makes strong communities. And strong communities make a resilient planet.
Research & Concept
Daily tous les jours worked closely with the city of South Bend through a series of onsite workshops involving citizens and city representatives for an in-depth understanding of the location, its people, its stories, and current revitalization efforts. How to reconnect people to the river and to each other was a recurrent theme during conversations. The St. Joseph River runs through the heart of the city, but urban life turned its back to it for many years. We established a strategy to dynamically re-frame the view of the river, inviting passersby to turn (quite literally) their attention towards the natural landscape, while also encouraging people to spend time together.
Production & Integration
Daily designed and produced Daydreamer. From a technical innovation perspective, the creation of the artwork's unique "slow-rocking" movement is the result of more than two years of collaboration with industrial designers, engineers and machinists, and includes magnetic brakes and a custom asymmetrical pivot. The artwork was integrated to South Bend’s landscaping plan with a custom ground pattern designed for poured-in-place rubber.
All the sounds of Daydreamer are recordings of the human voice. The notes that are sung depend on the benches’ position and direction of travel. The volume of the voices 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 and organic tapestry of tension, release, motion and stillness. *