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Serenading the Streets, or Because New York Isn't Noisy Enough
June 17, 2010 1:24 PM   Subscribe

At 9am on Monday the 21st June, 60 pianos will be distributed and then unveiled across New York City by Sing for Hope. Located in public parks, streets and plazas the pianos will be available until 5th July for any member of the public to play and engage with.

Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. [Previously] You can get piano locations as well as upload videos, photos and stories of you and your friends tickling the public ivories on the official site. The project will be concurrently mounted in London.
posted by Lutoslawski (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a wonderful idea. I love public art installations.
posted by Fizz at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2010


I would be concerned that something like this would happen to a lot of those pianos, because, well, we don't do well sharing nice things.
posted by Danf at 1:30 PM on June 17, 2010


2nd time around now for London (first done there in 2009). Jerram first did this brilliant project in Birmingham, UK in 2008; also Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2008; Sydney, Australia, 2009; Bury St Edmunds, UK, 2009; Bristol, UK 2009 and Barcelona, Spain earlier in 2010


Here's a 4 minute 2009 documentary on the project in London.

posted by Bwithh at 1:31 PM on June 17, 2010


That sound you heard was a few hundred Juilliard students cracking their knuckles.
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on June 17, 2010


The effect of this project in all locations has been marvelous but from what I gather, the biggest impact was in Brazil, where many or most people in Sao Paulo cannot ever practically afford to buy a new piano and old secondhand pianos are rarely available. The press coverage was in Portuguese, so I haven't been able to find a good article or video on that though.
posted by Bwithh at 1:35 PM on June 17, 2010


I would be concerned that something like this would happen to a lot of those pianos

Or something like this.
posted by mykescipark at 1:43 PM on June 17, 2010


Hmm. There will be two in my neighborhood. I guess some cuties will probably be in attendance, so there's that.

I think this kind of project is getting pretty trite, but if it results in some nice experiences in public spaces I suppose that doesn't matter. Don't know if it's "art" though.
posted by grobstein at 1:50 PM on June 17, 2010


In other news, a giggling Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested while trying to get a flamethrower through airport security.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:53 PM on June 17, 2010


sweet, im gonna wake up early, rent a u-haul and go snag me a piano
posted by nathancaswell at 1:55 PM on June 17, 2010


this fucking owns
posted by Damn That Television at 2:01 PM on June 17, 2010


I'm excited that his next installation of pianos will be in Cincinnati in August and September.
http://www.playmeimyourscincy.com/

I'm hoping to get one in a park next to my place and I've signed up to volunteer for the project.
posted by tresbizzare at 2:35 PM on June 17, 2010


You guys just wait until my next art project where I distribute vuvuzelas in public parks, streets, and plazas.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:46 PM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anybody know out how they're handling weatherproofing? NYC seems like it's likely to get at least one thunderstorm over the lifespan of the exhibit- I see some plastic wrap in a couple of images.
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:27 PM on June 17, 2010


I saw these pianos when they were in London; my recollection is that they served mostly as magnets for beggars and random crazy people waiting for unsuspecting passersby to rant at. Hopefully New Yorkers will be more civil.
posted by acb at 4:04 PM on June 17, 2010


I don't think it was Luke Jerram, but last year's White Night festival in Brighton, UK did this and it was fantastic. I joined in a spontaneous 100 person Bohemian Rhapsody singalong at a piano outside a pub. Great fun.
posted by simonw at 4:28 PM on June 17, 2010


This calls for a Guinness attempt at Most Simultaneous Renditions of "Chopsticks."
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2010


There are public pianos installed here in Denver on the 16th Street Mall (an outdoor shopping district). It totally rules. I rarely go down there and I've heard people playing just beautifully a few times.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:51 PM on June 17, 2010


Gotta love the New York-centrism going on here. As if culture only exists in NYC. Sheesh!

Play Me I'm Yours is also coming to Cincinnati in August.
posted by zooropa at 6:25 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Sydney this was great last year, but they did get weatherbeaten after a while.

Everything you leave on the street here gets vandalised or stolen, but I was surprised that the most damage to the pianos was from the sun and water.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:27 PM on June 17, 2010


How does one 'engage with' a piano? Is it anything like engaging with key stakeholders to leverage their social capital, going forward?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:19 PM on June 17, 2010


How does one 'engage with' a piano?
During the Sydney festival they had one in Parramatta mall, which is a north-south facing largely-pedestrian suburban shopping centre running from Macquarie St to George St.

The intelligence reports we got identified the instrument as a weak point in the system—the Parramatta City Council didn't rate snub fighters as threats, or they'd have had a tighter defence. A piano's pretty small as a target, less than two metres wide, and the approach isn't easy. We had to maneouvre small one-man fighters straight down Church St, skimming the footpath, to launch proton torpedoes at the piano, which set off a chain reaction which destroyed Parramatta Station.

They said it was impossible to get a precise hit, even for a computer.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:35 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


...and there's a gold star in each one! Can Mario smash them all and collect enough to save the princess from the evil Bowser?
posted by Catblack at 8:27 AM on June 22, 2010


The installation opened yesterday! The Village Voice posted a video. More from AP.

Here's a one-sheet pdf of all locations. There will be a final concert on 7/5 at Lincoln Center by Sing for Hope "donor artists." Also, I note from the events link in the FPP that there will be a a bedside performance for patients by those same donor artists at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital on July 7th.

Photos of the pianos, and the transcript of an interview with Emily Walsh, Sing for Hope’s director of operations from WNET, local PBS Channel 13.

The pianos were painted by 15 local artists, including Sophie Matisse, the great-granddaughter of Henri (who of course, painted The Piano Lesson.) Jazz station WBGO interviewed her along with Camille Zamora, co-founder of Sing For Hope, tuner Fred Patella and pianist Helen Sung, here.

A scene from a new opera, "Paul's Case" will be performed on the pianos. Also, a Tennessee rocker attempted to play all 29 pianos installed at Manhattan's parks, only to find that nobody blazes through Manhattan."

Play Me, I'm Yours PSA video. :)
posted by zarq at 8:49 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got to play the piano in Tompkins Square Park yesterday.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:52 AM on June 24, 2010


ambitious young men play the piano of success
posted by grobstein at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2010


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