Changing Behaviour One Note at a Time
Every felt the need to burst out into song in the middle of the city? Well, now you can be accompanied by a piano as Arts Centre Melbourne hosts the internationally touring artwork of British artist Luke Jerram – and witness a bit of exciting social marketing at the same time.
Play Me, I’m Yours has toured the world from New York to London, Geneva to Paris and even smaller cities such as Omaha, Nebraska. And has been wildly popular everywhere it has been reaching over 3 million people.
The artwork consists of a number of pianos which have been individually decorated by local artists. These pianos are then placed throughout the city in public parks, train stations, markets, bridges and even ferries where any passers-by are encouraged to engage with the urban environment in a new way by showing off or discovering their skills on one of the specially decorated pianos.
By moving these instruments out of the concert halls, this exhibition attempts to democratise the arts by encouraging musical exploration through all segments of society. No longer do you have to be a classically-trained and renowned pianist to play the piano in Melbourne. You can now do it on a street corner! Something which moves the idea of interacting with the arts away from the traditional high-class perception and crosses boundaries of age, class and culture.
But back to the marketing . . .
There is a field of marketing dedicated to changing behaviours in order to benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good. See, marketing isn’t all about selling consumers what they don’t want!
Well, this international artwork is a great example of social marketing. Stemming from Luke Jerram’s experiences within his local community, he noticed a behaviour that needed to be changed and found a really innovative way to change it.
‘’The idea for Play Me, I’m Yours came from visiting my local launderette. I saw the same people there each weekend and yet no one talked to one another. I suddenly realised that within a city, there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence. Placing a piano into the space was my solution to this problem, acting as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space,’’ Luke Jerram
As if that doesn’t bring enough musical engagement to the masses, accompanying the installation in every city is a dedicated website where people can share films, photos and stories about their interaction with the pianos. Further spreading the idea that anyone can interact with the instruments and ultimately the music scene (and showing that you probably won’t be the worst person to give it a go!).
Arts Centre Melbourne’s Play Me, I’m Yours arrives in Melbourne on January 9 and the pianos will be released on Melbourne until January 27. For more information on this innovative new initiative visit www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/pianos or www.streetpianos.com.au