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The artist Es Devlin has created a special artwork in Glasgow, Scotland, in honor of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in the city through November 12. In parallel to the 197 parties in attendance—each of whom signed the 1996 UN Climate Change treaty—Devlin’s Conference of the Trees will debut on November 3 at The New York Times Climate Hub nearby, encompassing a living installation of 197 trees and plants.
Within the headquarters, which will act as a meeting space for leaders and policymakers over the course of the summit, Devlin has devised an encompassing indoor environment where the plant life becomes onlookers; silent parties reminding us of the urgent climate crisis that is being discussed over the next 12 days. Taking inspiration from the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers in which trees are the protagonists, the artist employed the help of the forest architect Phillip Jaffa and landscape specialist Scotscape to create a space reminiscent of a forest clearing, where soft, soothing light glows through the walls of tall, leafy greenery—following ongoing studies divulging the health and mood benefits from time spent in nature.
Conference of the Trees will hold within its leaves and branches a series of talks and events through the course of its presentation, which ends on November 11, Accessible both by purchase of tickets or virtually. The installation will see all plant life relocated to urban reforestation projects throughout the city once it comes to a close, just like Devlin’s recent temporary Forest for Change exhibited over the summer at the London Design Biennale and Somerset House.