The PlaySoundGround is an adult-sized sound-producing playground. Sensors embedded in a teeter-totter, swing set and merry-go-round register users movements and a computer generates sound in real-time based on those movements. Additionally, there is a three story climbing structure that supports the swing set, frames acoustic percussion instruments made from everyday objects, and provides various places to rest and observe the performance space. The furniture is all scaled to be roughly the same size relative to an adult’s body that a typical playground would be relative to a child’s body.
The PlaySoundGround consists of a teeter-totter, a merry-go-round, and a set of swings attached to a climbing structure. The teeter-totter, merry-go-round, and swings are electronic musical instruments. Sensors in them allow people to create digital music by playing on them. The climbing structure contains acoustic instruments patterned after eras of American material culture: wood, metal, plastic.
It is a playground that is also a musical instrument, and a musical instrument that is also a playground. It lets people cooperatively explore a wide space of musical gestures, drawing expansive connections between physical play and musical play. It suggests and creates uncanny links between the senses, calling the distinctions between aural and kinesthetic experience into question.
The PlaySoundGround was designed by Sasha Leitman and Michael St. Clair . The acoustic instruments were developed by the students of Jonathan Berger’s Spring 2008 Technology and Art seminar at Stanford University. The project was funded by a major grant from Stanford University’s Institute for Creativity and the Arts.