Naziha Mestaoui by Alia Gheita

Are our lives intertwined with that of a tree? Born 1975 in Brussels Belgium, Naziha Mesatoui is a Belgian artist who is trained in the field of architecture, she asks us this through the virtual forests she creates and projects onto monuments through virtual mapping, the work I have chosen to concentrate on is her project entitled “1 heart 1 tree”.

Through an application, the participants (spectator) is able to create a virtual tree by placing their finger on their smart phone camera; which in turn records their heart beat; through this heart beat, a virtual tree sprouts on their screens and as each persons heart beat in unique, each virtual tree is completely different.

Beginning in 2000 Mesatoui worked with Electronic Shadow,

( n.d.)

Together they pioneered and patented techniques of video mapping in digital art Through technology the participant is able to make his or her own virtual tree using themselves and their own heart beat, then able to name it, and as a final step; Mesatoui combines the participants heart beats to create a virtual forest and projects it on monuments such as the Eiffel tower through virtual mapping.

Her aim to create a link between the spectator and the work created, and show the participant that they are in fact the able to take a firm course of action and stop an epidemic that we have ignored to for many years; as with every virtual tree that is created through the “1 heart 1 tree” application, an actual tree will be planted through one of the reforestation programs which Mesatoui works with that spread through 5 different continents, literally fighting against deforestation.

She uses a significant event to give birth to these virtual trees made by thousands of individuals; this event being the United Nations climate conference, which was held in Paris, France where world leaders met and signed the Paris Agreement, which was created to reduce emissions, Reinforce the people’s spirit and joined forces to tackle climate change.

Mestaoui collected all the virtual trees or “heart beats” of her participants, and with the permission of the French government, created a virtual forest that was projected on the tour Eiffel.

We cannot deny that there is nothing that we are not obsessed with controlling, mainly:

  • technology
  • architecture
  • environment


but we fail to remember that it is nature that is suffering at our hands, so as apposed to accusing the spectator of being callous towards nature, she gives them the chance to create, not only metaphorically or artistically but literally create life.

Not only does this project give us beautiful imagery, but a chance for us as participants, to really make a difference; through art and technology, finally giving birth to nature.

Ghandi once stated “be the change you wish to see in the world”, a quote which Mestatoui reinforces and makes evidently clear through her virtual spectacles as Citizens and institutions have played a crucial role in the UN’s negotiations, allowing global awareness and ensuring that the citizens feel involved and commit, this is only made possible due to the overwhelming growth of social media and technology.

Through a smartphone app, This forest of heartbeats is shown symbolically on the Eiffel Tower through video mapping, Once the symbol of the Industrial Revolution, the Eiffel Tower becomes once again a milestone in the history of mankind, but this time it meant a new environmental conscience and a genuine connection between man, art and Nature.’1 heart 1 tree’ has already resulted in the plantation of more than 55,000 trees and in 2016 ‘1 heart 1 tree’ will yet again begin a global tour, transforming many more monuments into virtual forests and aiding reforestation programs; raising more awareness, this includes cities such as Rio in Brazil, Seoul in Korea and Dubai but to name a few.


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( n.d.) (Shadow. 2013)






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