PORTALS – Interactive Trees

Interactive Connected Trees

This interactive art project turns trees into portals of nonverbal communication.

When one of the trees is touched, it starts “charging up” with light and sound. Once the first tree is fully charged, it wirelessly triggers the second tree, bringing it to life.

When the second tree is also touched, and for as long as both of them are activated, the trees reach a “Nirvana” state together – bridging two different locations and establishing communication between the people around them.

PORTALS was created by Nir Badt, Hampus Lindbald and myself, with the generous support of Kulturbriggan.
Given a research grant, we developed numerous variations on the theme of Interactive Trees, exploring different technological solutions, conceptual approaches and design elements.

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After establishing local connections between trees in Tel Aviv and in Stockholm, we finally bridged the two locations by creating an international portal – connecting a tree in Israel to a tree in Sweden during the DLD Festival in 2018.

For this international iteration, we’ve added a webcam and a screen to each tree so that people in both countries can see each other, engage in the playful interaction initiated by the installation and develop it into an actual, personal conversation.

The last version, so far, was a collaboration with renowned Israeli artist Faluja – which stripped away the form factor of trees and replaced it with large, wooden sculptures of shamanic beasts.

The next iteration will be exhibited at WOW Festival in San Diego, USA, connecting the trees at the festival ground.

PORTALS’ fantastic team of makers includes Zvika Markfeld, Leon Maryasin, Dan Sandberg, Assaf Ostrovsky and Danny Grander.

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