A couple of days ago, Rob and I both received our own mysterious package in the mail addressed to us. I opened it up and there was a key of a piano in there. We had been abducted into an art project by our friends Shelley Harrison and Jeremy Kennedy (as a duo, aka Kneeshy) called Keys to the 88th.
The idea behind the piece is that Kneeshy gave 1 key from a piano to 88 different people (presumably around the country.) We are given complete artistic freedom to come up with what we want to do with each key, whether it be a performance, a sculpture or whatever else. On May 1st, we are to mail these keys back (or the documentation of what happened to them) to Kneeshy in Los Angeles where they will have an art show displaying the various interpretations of each individual key.
I was totally in love with the idea right away. I have always thought Kneeshy did really inventive and playful artistic pieces that involved community and friends. This particular piece has a certain resonance to me because it comes from a piano. I had never really seen the back side of a piano key or studied the wood grain on the sides that are below the key bed and unpainted. It made me think of the idea behind the word “key” and how a “key” is just a tool to get from one place to another. In the case of a piano, it is the first step to a number of mechanical movements to produce a sound (hammer striking string.) I will write again when the installation is up!