Saturday, 11 July 2009

Art 2.0 part 2: "Streetpianos"

Over the past month Luke Jerram's streetpianos project has placed thirty pianos in public places in and around London, open for anyone to play. The project comes to an end this weekend in London and the pianos will now be removed and sold.

I've particularly enjoyed this Art 2.0 experience: looking for the pianos took me on a tour of familiar and unfamiliar London, and it's been fun watching the mini-events, friendships and collaborations form spontaneously around the pianos, playing or singing along myself, and meeting other piano-seekers of all abilities. Different locations have drawn City professionals or citizens, travellers or tourists, giving the crowd around each piano it's own feel.

I'd like to acknowledge D-n-K, the awesome musical trio that were aiming to produce a charity album on all 30 pianos in one day; the lovely Korean illustrator who accompanied my Bridge Over Troubled Water at the Millenium Bridge; the young girl whose parents couldn't tear her away from the Liverpool Street piano; the duo who filled the Plaza with Hero; a chance meeting and chat with fellow blogger and underground chef MsMarmiteLover at Devonshire Court, and everyone I met who also just felt like having a go.

Streetpianos and One&Other have in common an artist who, instead of creating the art themselves, is facilitating involvement by hundreds of users. Of the two, Streetpianos feels more spontaneous. Both Art 2.0 projects say something about our willingness both to participate in creativity and to watch others; the friendly supportive crowds make these events very different from the sinister world of reality TV as there's no competitive side. Streetpianos is a nomadic festival moving from city to city and I look forward to a return to London some day.

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