Hear the ‘Singing Trees’ at Louvre Abu Dhabi

By DG Staff

ABU DHABI 15 February 2020: Louvre Abu Dhabi and Théâtre du Châtelet, with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, will present the world premiere of “Singing Trees”, a new interactive installation created by award-winning digital artists from London, Umbrellium, in collaboration with the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music, IRCAM, from Paris, and independent producer, Katherine Jewkes.

After its premiere at Louvre Abu Dhabi, “Singing Trees” will be presented in cities around the world, including in the garden of Palais Royal in Paris from 10th to 20th September, 2020, followed by presentations in London, New York and Paris again for the Olympics in 2024.

Launching in Abu Dhabi on 25th February, 2020, “Singing Trees” explains the pressing need for environmental awareness in the age of climate change. Combining innovative technology, music and 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, said Wam.

These belts, designed with the support of sound engineers from the IRCAM, will enable the trees to sing together as a choir that will change in response to the interaction of audiences. As visitors move closer to the trees, the choir becomes louder and more in-synch. Visitors are then invited to hug the trees to increase the volume of the choir.

The trees will sing a combination of songs in English, Arabic and French. In each country that exhibits the installation, new songs will be commissioned for the trees to sing. The featured musical pieces for “Singing Trees” at Louvre Abu Dhabi include “Ayyala”, a traditional Arabic song that reflects the artistic heritage of the UAE; “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, “Timed to coincide with the UAE Innovation Month, the piece explores how technological advances can bring us closer to nature and heighten our understanding of the environment.”

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 to and interact with them.”

Jemma Read, Global Head of Corporate Philanthropy, Bloomberg L.P, said, “We hope this collaboration with Louvre Abu Dhabi and Théâtre du Châtelet will inspire residents in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE to take bolder action to address climate change.”

The key members of Umbrellium are Usman Haque, Creative Director; Andrew Caleya Chetty, Chief Strategy Officer; Ling Tan, Senior Designer and Coder, and Nitipak Samsen, Senior Creative Technologist.

Members from IRCAM Amplify, a branch of IRCAM, supported the project, including Manuel Poletti, Sound Creations and Sound Design; Julien Chirol, Musical Arrangements and Production, and Martin Antiphon, Sound Engineering.

In addition to “Singing Trees” in February, a full family weekend will plunge visitors into the medieval times, with activations at the Park, under the Dome, film screenings, parades of knights, workshops and much more. Participation is free and the activities will take place between 28th and 29th February from 15:00 to 18:00.