Projecting the Forest
Posted July 2, 2014
Our electric world, mediated by a plethora of digital devices seems a far step from the jungles of the Amazon and the Congo, where the fate of our Earth is concentrated and where conservation efforts are integral. The One Heart One Tree project created by Naziha Mestaoui reverses this disparate relationship and puts conservation into the center of Paris and into the palm of our hands.
One Heart One Tree will create a forest of light in Paris for the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change. The experience will offer participants the chance to create a tree from a reading taken from their heart beat. Smartphones will record the visitor’s heart beat, and the resulting seed will be planted on the small screen and projected on the famous monuments in the city of light. Secondly, the seed created digitally will be matched by a real seed planted in reforestation efforts in the jungles of the world. The planter of the seed will receive a certificate of the tree that they helped plant, a Google earth file that will allow them to track their tree, and a report every 6 months during the first three years of the trees life. The interactive elements are powered by zero-emission technology. A series of micro-sensor tiles will track visitor’s movements and turn that kinetic energy into electric energy to power the projection. Bikes placed alongside the projection stations invite people to power the installation by pedaling. Wind turbines, further enforcing alternative energy sources, will also be placed near the monuments where the projections will be seen.
This project is a great example of how digitally mediated experiences, far from distancing the spectator from nature, helps people to connect. By adding a layer of interactivity and creation, One Heart One Tree reveals the new methods of how conservation can take place, if only small efforts are implemented by each of us. More projects that create interactive moments should use this type of philosophical approach and alternative energy sources. If more of these projects are installed, more of the urban populations of the major cities around the world will have interactive experiences that lead to conservation for the future. There is no real delineation between the mediated, digital daily existence that we live in urban areas, and the efforts to reduce our consumption of energy with its negative environmental effects. All of our efforts and acts fall to one side of the spectrum. One Heart One Tree proves that this is the case and can be accomplished on a large scale.