It is a beautiful Sunday morning with blue sky and no hint of cloud. I jump up from bed, get dressed and set off to play piano in the open-air, looking up at The Monument in London.
It’s like a dream but is actually real, twenty pianos are waiting in the city to be played by anyone at anytime. ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an arts project by British artist Luke Jerram, which has been touring internationally since 2008. Each piano has been decorated by members of the public and placed in the most unexpected of spaces – Liverpool Street Station, London Wall, Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral among others.
Piano is like “an empty canvas” Luke once said in an interview. The characterful, decorated pianos welcome the public to express their own creativity. In fact they are so inviting that there is nothing to worry about. You don’t have to play properly or skillfully. Last time I played piano was over 15 years ago and I was more than slightly intimidated by the idea of playing in public. But when I touched the keyboard and heard the sound echoing to the sky, I felt free. I followed just the first bit of the score that was placed on the piano and made up the rest. I could feel the vibration in the air, cool morning breeze on my skin, I felt like I was becoming a part of the cityscape – it was magical.
It is no accident that Luke has researched and studied the perception of sound and created numerous artworks related to the subject. His passion could have been fueled by the fact that he is colour-blind.
It is difficult to describe this art project in one word; it is completely sensuous and it has to be felt – probably that’s all that matters. It also gives new meaning to the London streets which most of us use to walk through as quickly as possible to get to the office. I believe no one can resist a little bit of ‘extraordinary’ on the streets.