Play Me, I’m Yours: Reclaiming Public Space
By Maria Popova
You may recall UK artist Luke Jerram and his brilliant glass microbiology from our Biology-Inspired Art issue. But besides exploring the beautiful intersection of science and art, some of his work transcends aesthetic art, entering into social experiment and anthropology.
Play Me, I’m Yours is a fascinating project, touring the globe since March 2008 and placing street pianos in locations all over the world. From train stations to laundromats to skate parks, the pianos emerge in public spaces, inviting the community to engage and interact with them in a way that creates a playful and vibrant canvas for grassroots cultural self-expression.
Questioning the ownership and rules of public space ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ is a provocation, inviting the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.
Since its launch, the project has received wide media attention from NPR, The New York Times, BBC, and a myriad other culture-purveyors. And the 112 pianos installed so far have been played by anyone from school children in Sao Paolo to the London Symphony Orchestra.
Next year, Play Me, I’m Yours is hitting London, Belfast, Barcelona, Pécs, Cincinnati, San Jose, Medellin, Cartagena, Bogatoa and 17 more cities.
The project is a much better-conceived and more ambitious analogy to Volkswagen’s recent Fun Theory effort, which tests the simple hypothesis that giving people something fun to do will change their behavior and their relationship with public space.
Published November 4, 2009