21 Swings is an interactive public project recently set up in the streets of Montreal by Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours. "Pre-recorded sounds from a xylophone, piano, and other instruments were programmed into color-coded swings that when in use play various notes, however when swung in unison with careful cooperation, more complex melodies and harmonies arise. An additional “secret mode” was programmed to only play when all 21 swings were in use." (description taken from thisiscolossal.com)
What I LOVE about this project is how utterly heavenly it is. It combines sound, light, movement, color, community, simplicity, rest and more into one thing. The fact that it requires that you lay down your felt need to hurry in order to sit down and swing, which then entrances you into a new pace, almost a new realm, is a wonderful thing in and of itself. But, I find it to speak infinitely more.
We all have 5 senses and while much of our history has developed the art that entices these senses individually, now we find ourselves seeking to combine the arts to bring about something even more spectacular. It's no longer just about visual, or audio, or texture, taste and touch, it's about how we can combine them and join in.
We know that God is the Creator of these things. We recognize His artistry in creation's marvels; but have you ever really thought of God as an artist? Have you ever thought of God as a musician? He created sound and gave sounds to many things but did you also know that He wrote songs? (One such example is in Deuteronomy 31:19,21) And have you ever thought of God as chef, director, curator, designer, etc?
If God is the I AM, not a singular thing can define Him except the name which encompasses all of His qualities, and if God is not a human being which experiences things through their senses; what if God is Himself a sense to be experienced. What if God is as much to be found in smell as He is in feeling? What if God is to be found in taste as much as in hearing? ("Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!.." Psalm 34:8) Just a thought.
One of my favorite scenes in literature is the creation of Narnia in The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. Aslan sings Narnia into creation that brought about light, movement, color and unison. Another example of what I'm talking about can be found in The Shack by WM. Paul Young. In Chapter 15 the character's eyes are healed for an evening to see as the trinity sees, that the world around him interacts through color and light; that people exude colors from within themselves and relationship creates an array of light and colors. It paints a picture of a redeemed world where our senses reach their full potential and we interact on sensory levels we have not yet reached nor known.
I think anything that brings together different aspects of creation is a glory to behold. I think that whoever created these 21 swings was very in tune to the feelings and wantings of man; his need to rest, to be inspired, to tap into those child-like thrills, his need for simple refreshing, his need for community and others. One man on a swing makes one sound, but together they make another sound; should they seek different rhythms they would find different sounds altogether.
I see God's character, His artistry, written all over something like this. It challenges me as an artist and also as a human raising the bar in how I interact with this world God gave us. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you think?