Pianos In Public Space

People in Tilburg still talk about it. In September 101 pianos popped up in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges. The musical instruments were there for everyone to play and enjoy. From the very beginning, the piano project appeared to be one of the highlights during the Incubate Festival.

“Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ disrupts people’s negotiation of their city and invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.”

Touring internationally since 2008, ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Over 400 pianos have been installed in cities across the globe, from New York to Sydney, bearing the simple instruction: play me, I’m yours.

The concept may seem simple indeed, yet the results were overwhelming. Imagine people walking down the street suddenly being captured by a pop-up concert. Strangers gathering around a piano to play and sing together. Apparently, a previous edition of the project in a different city had an encounter that is worth mentioning. When two people first met and play a song together on one of the pianos, they could not know that ‘their’ piano would be present at their wedding. It remains to be seen whether this scenario comes true for Tilburg too.

Each city has a website made for the public to upload their films, photos and stories sharing their interaction with the pianos. As such, the project is well-documented and now that the pianos are gone, the pictures remain.