"A tree tweets, A tree reacts."
an Artwork that Trees and People Sympathize with One Another

detail image

A Forest in the City, Where People and Trees Rest Back to Back

City Greening is a worldwide movement. The “High Line” of New York City, which opened in 2009, is an aerial greenway which was made by reusing an abandoned railway. People enjoy jogging and sunbathing in this linear one-mile park inside the city. In Japan too, there are several cities which are considering plans of “Central Parks.” Sooner or later, a day will come where even people who live in cities will come to feel that it is a natural thing to have trees surrounding them.

In a future where it is natural to live among trees inside a city, citizens should start to feel that they are more familiar with trees than in the present day. OPEN INNOVATION LAB. envisioned a future city as artwork intertwined with technology; in other words, the surrounding urban environment is altered by the resonance of trees and people and exhibited by sharing our concept with the world.

In this work, the Responsive Environments Team of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, in which ISID is a member company, has implemented the “Listen Tree,” with which people hear sounds by applying their ears to the tree, i.e., a new acoustic device. We has constructed a system that links vital data obtained from the human body and trees to the “Listen Tree,” which then automatically changes its sounds and lighting. This was accomplished with the technological cooperation and content offered by Kawahara Laboratory of the Open University, Lopez Laboratory of Aoyama Gakuin University, and the Obayashi Corporation.

“A tree tweets, A tree reacts.”

When a person touches a tree, his or her pulse and the sap flow of the tree are measured. On the basis of these vital data, environmental conditions such as the sound from inside the tree, the surrounding lighting, and sprays of fine mist automatically change. Overall, this work portrays a future in which trees are able to uplift or calm the emotions of people by reading the feeling and degree of tension from their pulse rates. We also believe that this artwork has the potential to expand itself regarding it’s compatibility with green roof movements, where systematic implementation is being debated in major cities, and environmental movements, which intends to reduce environmental loading.

Exhibiting at the ARS ELECTRONICA FESTIVAL 2015

This artwork is exhibited at the ARS ELECTRONICA FESTIVAL 2015, the world’s prestigious festival of media art to be held in Austria, Linz from September 3 to 7, 2015. We present our images of a future city to the world.

text:Junichi Suzuki