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On May 28, Beirut-based firm 109 Architectes unveiled Notes on a Tree at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The interactive installation is part of the GAA Foundation’s annual “Time – Space – Existence” exhibition and it commemorates Lebanon’s lost public spaces.
Notes on a Tree tackles the role of the architect in countries like Lebanon, where developers often dictate urban planning. The firm uses its own projects as examples of successes and disappointments in preserving public space, which is symbolized by specific trees. Some trees were saved and some were lost, but each one represents a community’s history and collective memory.
The installation is a response to a call from Alejandro Aravena, director of this year’s Biennale, who said, “[The Venice Biennale] will present cases and practices where creativity was used to take the risk to go even for a tiny victory, because when the problem is big, just a one-millimeter improvement is relevant.”
Guests at the exhibition are offered cedar and pine seeds and invited to plant them anywhere in the world. They are then asked to visit notesonatree.com and pin their tree’s location on a map. The map is being projected in real-time back to the installation at the Venice Biennale, along with a live feed of social media posts tagged #notesonatree. 109 Architectes is using the level of visitor interaction to gauge the question that sparked the project: “How important is a tree?”
In keeping with an eco-conscious approach, the exhibit produces minimal waste and nearly all material is recycled, recyclable or reusable. The Notes on a Tree website was developed in partnership with new media agency Born Interactive.
Location: Palazzo Bembo – Second Floor
San Marco, Riva del Carbon 4793
30124 Venice, Italy.