Day 12 of #100dayproject: Pianos in my city

IMG430

Three weeks ago I went to a shopping mall at Providencia, Chile (Mall Plaza Egaña). Besides all the dispositive strategically positioned to distract the costumer like lights, colors, timeless shops or smells; I saw something more interesting at the corner: a piano. I was impressed for the presence of the piano in the palace of consumption, but there it was: a lonely piano decorated with modern colors and the phrase: “Play me I’m yours.”

Surfing at internet few days later I found a planetary movement (since 2008) that came from a simple idea by British artist Luke Jerram[1]. The idea is simple, but reveals a scarcity in our ultra-planned cities: the cities doesn’t have public spaces for music or arts.

More than 1,300 pianos have already been installed in 45 cities across the globe, from New York to London, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’[2]. By creating a place of exchange Play Me, I’m Yours invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment, according Luke Jerram:

Disrupting peoples’ negotiation of their city, Street Pianos are designed to provoke people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape[3].”

Many artists and singers like Alicia Keys had notice the powerful of this project:

“‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ created a beautiful and worthy moment for our city, by bringing the Street Pianos to our city’s parks and public spaces. Its things like this that make me extra proud to be a New Yorker, and the endless possibilities represented in these streets.”

The landscape is not only the scenic beauty of the mountains, as many people thinks. The landscapes are more than beautiful and quiet pictures. The visual aspect is most prominent and probably increasingly so, however, sound, smell, touch, and even taste are other senses that are part of an individual landscape perception[4]. Even the pass of the times has some effects of landscapes, as the poet Mario Benedetti says:

“If you come back.
You do not find what you keep alive in your memory.
These landscapes are gone.
Everything is now scaffolding and debris.
Landscapes do not have expectations.
They have not waited for your return”

The soundscapes are a special area of study from the landscape research. Since the 1970s, following the pioneering work of musician Raymond Murray Schafer, the term soundscape to describe “what in the sound environment is perceived as an aesthetic unity” (J.-F. Augoyard). Murray Schafer has shown very clearly in his seminal work[5] how the natural world is generating identifiable sounds (i.e. rain, animals or snow) and how these sounds can be regarded as typical of the places where they rise.

A soundscape create meaning and representation pace that characterizes settlement in relation to the landscape in which it is integrated. In addition to the localization of the effects of sensate, registering a “map” based on sounds and listens reveal a sense of rhythm in the daily life of citizens[6] or the presence of the strong negative effects on observers’ evaluations[7]. A special case is the use of the soundscape research methods in the ethnographic research. The case that I heard most is the case of Chilean River Baker and their mesmerizing soundscape[8].

[1] http://www.lukejerram.com/

[2] http://asp-au.secure-zone.net/v2/index.jsp?id=828%2F912%2F5428&lng=en

[3] http://www.streetpianos.com/about/

[4] Backhaus, N. (2011). Landscapes, spatial totalities or special regions? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 14, 193–202. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.03.036

[5] Schafer, Raymond Murray (2010). Le paysage sonore. Paris: Wildproject. [1ère édition 1977].

[6] Ross, F. (2014). Paisajes sensoriales: sensación y emoción en el hacer del lugar. Bifurcaciones, 16, 1–20. Retrieved from www.bifurcaciones.cl

[7] Anderson, L.M., Mulligan, B.E., Goodman, L.S. and Regen, H.Z. (1983) Effects of sounds on preferences for outdoor settings. Environment and Behavior, 15, 539-566.

[8] This project was made by: – LAS – Laboratory of Sound Art- Research and record field: Cristián López Muñoz Graciela Sandoval and Farida- Issue: Cristián López Sandoval, Graciela Muñoz Tapia Farida and Sebastian Nunez. Retrieved from: http://laboratoriodeartesonoro.cl/lab/riobaker

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s