On May 28, Beirut-based firm 109 Architectes will unveil “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 will commemorate 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.

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The installation is a response to a call from Alejandro Aravenas, director of this year’s Biennale, who said, “[ 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.”

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Guests at the exhibition will be offered cedar and pine seeds and invited to plant them anywhere in the world. They will then be asked to visit notesonatree.com and pin their tree’s location on a map. The map will be 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 will use 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 will produce minimal waste and nearly all material is recycled, recyclable or reusable. If you are interested in participating, please send a message to info@109architectes.com to request your seed. “Notes on a Tree” will run until November 27, 2016 at Palazzo Bembo, second Floor, San Marco, Riva del Carbon 4793, 30124 Venice, Italy.

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