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The Singing Trees installation at Louvre Abu Dhabi Image Credit: Samihah Zaman

Abu Dhabi: Visitors to the Louvre Abu Dhabi can find the palm trees near the iconic museum humming tunes over the next 12 days.

The musical trees are part of a newly commissioned installation that aims to draw attention to the need for greater efforts to ensure sustainability. Titled ‘Singing Trees’, the installation will be on display from February 25 until March 7.

Singing Trees: A must listen Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter

It has been developed by the Theatre du Chatelet, a French theatre and opera house, and London-based digital artists, Umbrellium, in collaboration with Paris’ Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music and independent producer, Kathrine Jewkes. The installation is also supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

When visitors walk upto the palm trees, they begin ‘singing’. The songs get louder and the chorus more synchronised as people get closer to the trees, and the volume is at the maximum when the trees are hugged.

“The aim is to highlight the power of collective human activity at a time when trees around the would need our support. With climate change now a part of our everyday lives, this installation physically manifests…the urgent need to listen to what nature is telling us,” Ruth Mackenzie, artistic director at the Theatre du Chatelet, said in the capital at a press preview of the installation on Monday.

The songs emanate from non-invasive and nearly-invisible electronic belts attached to each tree. Catherine Monlouis-Felicite, education and cultural engagement director at Louvre Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News that 30 trees have been fitted with the belts.

“At present, the trees ‘sing’ three songs – a traditional Emirati Ayyala, a medieval English song called ‘Green sleeves’ and a medieval French song called ‘L’amour de moy’. More artistes have been commissioned to add to this list of tunes as the installation tours other cities,” she added.

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The launch of the installation also coincides with UAE’s Innovation Month Image Credit: Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter

The launch of the installation also coincides with UAE’s Innovation Month. Monlouis-Felicite said another brand new work had been unveiled during Innovation Month 2019.

“Another wonderful thing about this installation is that it will expose people around the world to the Ayyala,” she explained.

Singing Trees is a five-year project, and after Abu Dhabi, it will head to London and New York, and then to Paris in time for the 2024 Olympics.

Singing Trees

Where: Louvre Abu Dhabi, outside the main entrance

When: February 25 – March 7, during museum timings

How: Walk up to the palm trees to hear the songs, and hug them to maximise the volume