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The Singing Sidewalk

Jul 5, 2016

A new sidewalk installation outside the Mesa Art Centre in Arizona sings as it senses your shadow, inviting people of all ages to dance and sway in this playful public space.

The project is called Mesa Musical Shadows, by Montréal’s Daily Tous Les Jours studio. The installation is made of custom fabricated tiles that are integrated into the Mesa Arts Center’s pavement, and that react to the shadows of passersby by playing sounds of singing voices. Visitors to the site are welcomed by a moment of surprise and an invitation to engage with the piece, and through it, interact with other visitors and passersby.

Shadows cast on different tiles trigger different voices, all singing in harmony. Length of shadow is dependant on the season, the time of day and the weather; meaning a visitor may never quite cast the same shadow twice. The sounds themselves also change with the angle of the sun, making playing with the installation a dynamic experience: entirely different for a visitor encountering it in the morning, the midday, the evening, and at night.

Though all the audio originates with recordings of the human voice, a large variety of sounds and moods are created throughout the day. The sounds triggered in the morning are peaceful and ethereal: sustained choral tones that follow your long shadow, singing you into your day. Later, when the sun is hot overhead, and shadows are shorter; the sounds are chopped and frenetic, creating a rhythmic, energetic soundtrack. As the shadows become long again toward sunset, clusters of complementary, interlocking melodies are triggered. Finally, after dark, the sounds harken toward the natural landscape: Insect or bird-like vocal sounds evoking a nocturnal meadow are triggered by users navigating their way through the night.

More info at: www.dailytouslesjours.com

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