It was installed in October 2005 within the festival “Long stories of Yekaterinburg”. It is the first land-art sculpture in the city. The author of the project is Anatoly Vyatkin. It’s the biggest keyboard in the world – its size is 4 х16 meters, the total weight is more than 100 tonnes.
Keyboard monumentThe huge keyboard is made of concrete and it is an exact replica of the usual computer keyboard with the QWERTY layout, there are 104 keys – from Escape to “calculator”. The average weight of one key is 100 kilos and the space bar is 500 kilos. The massive weight doesn’t stop vandals from picking keys out. For the first time keys F1 and F2 disappeared two weeks after the monument had been unveiled. In the author’s idea, the keys are not only a monument, but also benches. Thus people communicate using keyboard online and offline. Unfortunately, one can’t sit on them for a long time - they are cold and hard. And they are not a convenient place for a get-together with beer and chips – it’s forbidden to drink alcohol in public, and since the monument is in the centre of the city - one might be taken to the police. Though to have a short rest and sit on the keyboard during long walks around the city is quite nice. And hopping from one key to another is even nicer.
According to the city legend if you “print” your dearest wish by hopping from key to key and in the end jump on Enter, your wish will definitely come true. Beware – the keyboard is really big and it’s not an easy task to do.
On more tradition - gather friends and reach simultaneously keys Ctrl+Alt+Delete to “reload”. It’s also a good way for angry lovers to reconcile, “ reload” their relationship.
Some parents say that thanks to the keyboard children remember alphabet faster. All in all – people of the city love the monument it is a real “People’s” art-object. The curator of the festival “Long stories of Yekaterinburg” Nailya Allahverdieva said that the monument had been designed as a landscape art object, without fundament. Gradually the concrete keys started sinking deeper into the ground. Nevertheless the popularity of the keyboard hasn’t waned for 12 years, it’s not forgotten or neglected, even more, and it’s been included in the Red Line route despite the fact that it is not an official place of interest.
The maintenance of the monument is not financed from the city budget. The keyboard was created due to sponsors and exists thanks to volunteers who annually organize a cleaning day. These clean-ups had started after some rumour of moving the keyboard to Perm’ (a neighbouring town). At that time some keys had been stolen and the Windows logo changed to the Apple one. The keyboard was restored by a group of enthusiasts, and they’ve been looking after it ever since.
“We won’t give our keyboard away, it’s ours, it belongs to Yekaterinburg”- that’s what every citizen might say. Anatoly Vyatkin told us that the idea of the monument had come to him out of the blue. While working on a project for an international exhibition he spent a lot of time at the computer. At some point, he realized that a keyboard is the same commonplace as a frying pan for example. Almost every home has the one and the other.
On one hand, a keyboard symbolizes industrial era and European values. On the other handc- it is a kind of an Asian zen garden, where each element exists on its own and can be replaced. That was the reason why the author refused to install the monument on a concrete foundation. As well as Yekaterinburg, the keyboard combines European and Asian features. Even its layout is bilingual – it has Russian and English letters.
English translation: Anna Sitnikova