Sometimes you read an article or catch something on TV that stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder about life. I had two experiences like that yesterday which (on a small scale) blew me away.
The first was an item forwarded by a friend – I’m very lucky to have some smart, artistic friends who like to keep me on my toes, for which I’m very grateful. Left to my own devices I’d exist in a cultural desert.
‘Play me I’m Yours’ is an artwork by artist Luke Jerram in Tilberg, the Netherlands. This week, from 12-18 September 2011, 100 pianos will be scattered around Tilburg in parks and public places for anyone to use. Several are available for the public to decorate and personalise. How cool is that? Check out the website for more information and a map where the pianos are located.
Impressed that someone thought of the idea in the first place and town embraced the concept with enthusiasm, I’m stunned none of the pianos have been vandalised or stolen. Holland is one of the few countries in the world where this could happen. It would not occur to the Dutch to steal or vandalise – unless it’s bikes, we’ve had three stolen – the pianos are there for the pleasure and enjoyment of everyone and are respected as such.
It’s a real enigma for me – the Dutch can be blunt, even rude on occasion, but they have a side to their cultural personality which is generous in spirit. See them at an Andre Rieu concert and you’ll understand what I mean.
Have you ever given much thought to electricity pylons?
No, I didn’t think so. They are one of those things that are just, well, there. They scar the landscape and we block them out, accepting their existence as a necessity of modern life. We switch on our lights without thinking how the power is transported down the wires and into our homes.
Most of us anyway, although there are websites out there created and lovingly maintained by those who are passionate about electrical pylons. Who knew?
Recently the powers that be in the energy industry announced the pylons blotting the landscape of the UK for several generations need to be replaced. Back in May they launched a competition to find a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to the pylons which have marched across England’s green and pleasant land since the 1920’s.
‘The Pylon Design Competition aims to find a new, innovative design of pylon that will help carry electricity from power stations to communities. The competition is under the operation of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the Department of Energy and Climate (DECC) and National Grid.‘
I realise I’m a bit behind the times on this but the great thing about running to catch up is by the time I stumbled on this rather thrilling life enhancing project, the shortlist for designs has been compiled. Check it out at www.ribapylondesign.com.
In their different ways (one cultural and artistic, the other scientific and commercial) both have found a way to enrich the lives of everyone, feeding the spirit and soul in each of us.
Despite the global economic downturn there are people out there who understand and appreciate that nurturing the human spirit is essential. It is these seemingly small and unimportant details in our daily lives which enhance the world around us. It’s what defines us as human. And that’s why I’m quietly blown away.