On the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, the city's iconic Eiffel Tower was used to transmit an urgent message calling for climate solutions.
The installation, created by the Paris-based Belgian-Tunisian artist Naziha Mestaoui, uses 3D mapping techniques projected onto the tower. It “celebrates the power of natural energy sources and potential for a global shift to 100% renewable energy”, says project partner Here Now - a “movement lab” working to heighten public mobilization on climate, clean energy and sustainable solutions.
The launch of the artwork coincided with climate marches around the world, as environmental campaigners called for forest protection and a 100% renewable energy future.
Although marches in France were banned because of security concerns following the Nov. 13 attacks in the city that killed 130 people, some activists still took to the streets, and clashes between demonstrators and the police occurred in the French capital.
But artists have been urging peace alongside calls for climate justice. Mestaoui incorporated messages of unity and the hashtag #NousSommesUnis (We Are United) in her work. The aim is to engage citizens to help drive an ambitious global deal on climate change, as world leaders gather for the conference.
Artists are increasingly among those at the forefront of the movement pushing for an international accord that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below 2°C.
“The arts can make us act”, says Saint Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte, one of the leading campaigners in the Caribbean. “We need action in response to the threats, the realities of climate change.”
Scientists say that global warming of more than 2°C could have serious consequences for the planet, such as an increase in the number of extreme climate events including typhoons and floods.
Mestaoui's installation “1 Heart 1 Tree” will run until Dec 4, during the first week of the climate talks. Her work merges space, imagery and technological advances to create innovative immersive and sensory experiences, according to Here Now.
The lights reflect a “virtual forest” and viewers around the world are being asked to plant a virtual tree, which will be transformed into a real tree in one of seven reforestation programs.
“1 Heart 1 Tree” ambassadors include Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard, and French environmentalist Nicolas Hulot.