Did you know about this fascinating international piano-related art project?
We at Little & Lampert Pianos were recently fascinated to learn about a piano-related art project that has toured the world since 2008. The project, titled 'Play Me, I'm Yours', is the work of British artist Luke Jerram and has involved installations of over 1,300 pianos in 46 cities, including major cities like London and New York, around the world - and, in the process, reached more than six million people. Each of these pianos has included the simple instruction of 'Play Me, I'm Yours' - and there has certainly been no shortage of obliging people. In this blog post, we detail more about the project and why Jerram originally devised the idea for it.
What is the Play Me, I'm Yours project about?
Many of the aforementioned pianos remain in the locations in communities where they were originally installed - and are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Local communities have been given much freedom about how they play and enjoy the pianos. They have been given rights to decide, for example, who plays the pianos and how long the pianos remain where they were originally installed. This certainly seems in adherence to the ultimate intention of the project: to create places of exchange where members of local communities can engage with, activate and take ownership of urban environments.
The history of the project's development
Luke Jerram, the ultimate creative force behind the project, has revealed that the original idea for the project arose from personal experiences of visiting his local launderette. He has elaborated: "I saw the same people there each weekend and yet no one talked to one another. I suddenly realised that within a city, there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence." He has cited putting a piano into a space as "my solution to this problem", adding that the piano acted "as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space."
The first commission for the Play Me, I'm Yours project came from Fierce Earth in the UK city of Birmingham. 15 pianos were placed around this city for three weeks, during which it is thought that more than 140,000 people enjoyed the pianos, through either playing them or listening to other people playing on them. The project has since expanded hugely; in fact, it has had crucial roles at several high profile events, including the Pam Am Games, Sydney Festival and City of London Festival.
How the project has helped many people around the globe
The project certainly seems to have had a wealth of benefits over the years. It has, for example, given many talented pianists regular access to a piano for the first time and involved annual transportation of many second hand but working pianos - that would otherwise get thrown away - to other countries where pianos are not as common, but more valued. We certainly admire what Jerram has achieved with this project and wish him further good luck with it.