By Sam Bridge
UK digital artists Umbrellium will present Singing Trees, an interactive installation about enviromental awareness, on February 25
An interactive installation created by UK digital artists Umbrellium, which will be shown at the Paris Olympics in 2024, will have a world premiere in Abu Dhabi later this month.
Louvre Abu Dhabi and Théâtre du Châtelet, with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, will premiere Singing Trees.
After its premiere at Louvre Abu Dhabi, Singing Trees will be presented in cities around the world including in the garden of Paris’ Palais Royal in September, followed by London, New York and then Paris again for the Olympics in 2024.
Launching in Abu Dhabi on February 25, Singing Trees illuminates the pressing need for environmental awareness in the age of climate change.
Combining technology, music and an interactive visitor experience, the installation offers a unique opportunity to engage with, and appreciate, nature.
Activating the outdoor landscape of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Umbrellium will give a voice to the palm trees around the museum’s entrance using non-invasive, electronic belts attached to each tree.
These belts – designed with the support of sound engineers from the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM) – will enable the trees to sing together as a choir that will change in response to the audiences’ interaction with the work.
As visitors move closer to the trees, the choir becomes louder and more in-synch. Visitors are then invited to hug the tree to maximise the volume of the choir.
The trees will sing a combination of songs in English, Arabic and French. Featured musical pieces for Singing Trees at Louvre Abu Dhabi include Ayyala, a traditional Arabic song, Greensleeves, a traditional English folk song from the late 16th century and the French Medieval choir song L’Amour de Moy.
Manuel Rabaté, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Singing Trees speaks to Louvre Abu Dhabi’s mission to provide an educational and innovative space where visitors can engage in dialogues around the issues that affect us all. Timed to coincide with UAE Innovation Month, the piece explores how technological advances can bring us closer to nature and heighten our understanding of the environment. We are grateful to our partners Théâtre du Châtelet and Bloomberg Philanthropies who made this project possible and look forward to seeing Singing Trees travel the world.”
Ruth Mackenzie, CBE, artistic director of Théâtre du Châtelet said: “With climate change now a part of our everyday lives, this installation physically manifests, with pioneering technology, the urgent need to listen to what nature is telling us and respond with care.
"Umbrellium have used non-invasive digital technology to give trees a voice and invite the public to listen and interact with them.”