Breathing With Trees (Connecting Human With Nature)

4th December 2022


"While rooted in the ground for life, trees silently bear witness to the human condition."


We can't deny the fact that trees and humans have similarities. We both have crowns on the top and limbs branching out from our trunks. Meanwhile, our feet serve as the roots we used to stand upright. Above all, we both are living creatures: breathing, growing, aging, and dying. We can say that we are human versions of trees. The only difference is that they can't communicate with others. However, trees may be just standing silently, but they witness all human conditions.

Moreover, trees have a lot of important roles in our daily lives. They give us resources just to make us survive. They provide oxygen so we can breathe well. They are the main sources of our safe shelters that keep us warm. They are used for recreation and main source of several products, such as papers and building materials. And of course, their fruits serve as our food.


Trees give their everything to us. But do we, humans, take our part to conserve them? Throughout the years, what humans do is take down trees for the implementation and construction of different houses and projects. Little by little, some are getting extinct. Who suffers more? Of course, it is still us, humans.

I wonder what the world will be like a thousand years from now. Probably, there will be more countryside that will be converted into cities. And most likely fewer trees, but more buildings and innovations.

The Breathing With Trees Exhibition in Tai Kwun Duplex Studio reminds the public about the vital role of trees in humans' daily lives. Its main purpose is to show people their contributions to the massive destruction of trees, and nature in general. But at the same time, the event showcases the successful great projects of different individuals and groups in preserving and protecting trees in Hong Kong.


Some artwork about trees taken in different areas is displayed in the studio which demonstrates the regenerative power of nature.


Aside from the artwork, past stories and information about different projects in saving nature are also posted in all parts of the studio so people will be aware of them.


Just like in other places of the world, Hong Kong also experiences different calamities and extreme weather conditions. Several typhoons caused flood and tree destruction in different events. To alleviate these circumstances, the HK Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project collaborated with different scientists, environmentalist, researchers, and other groups of concerned individuals to come up with an innovation that could protect trees against typhoons and sustain their lives.


The Tree Smart Sensor (as shown in the lower right corner of the photo) was developed to prolong a tree's life. This sensor can also detect the tree's ability to withstand strong wind and so they could easily apply safety measurements for deteriorating trees before causing further destruction.

There are a lot of sensors in different parts of different cities. This project was formed due to the number of death cases because of falling trees in the cities of HK back in the past. Aside from preventing destruction, they can also prolong a tree's life with help of this sensor.

The main attraction of this exhibition is the Tree Hugger VR Installation which allows participants to experience virtual breathing with trees and seek to explore the interdependent connection between humans and trees.


The VR installation shows a giant sequoia. It's the world's largest tree and one of the largest organisms on earth which can grow up to 10-storey buildings and live up to thousands of years. This VR installation seeks to connect humans with nature and to let us realize how important trees are to our daily lives, and that we should help in protecting and conserving them.


Each session allows participants to experience breathing with trees, but need to book for it beforehand. Since it was afternoon when I visited the place, I opted just to watch the presentation and didn't queue for a VR experience.

Meanwhile, on the upper floor are the displays of Tai Kwun's 10 Resident Trees pencil drawings.


Each resident tree was drawn by the artist, Zheng Bo who is dedicated to creating living gardens, eco films, and other artwork about nature.


On the other side is the workshop room that cultivates ecological wisdom, and the future of saplings.


Parents with their kids can join the workshop and do their own art of sapling.


On the other is an infographic of another art form of preserving trees, the Hong Kong Stone Wall Tree. It's a collection of landscape artifacts and distinctive trees that grow in cities' masonry walls. An ongoing project was made to dedicate in preserving these stone wall trees and give solutions to current challenges.


This reminds me of our visit to The Enchanting Shing Mun Reservoir. On our way back to the bus stop from the other side of the reservoir, we have seen an enormous tree with roots clinging to the wall. This, certainly, is one of those distinctive city wall trees that the government is preserving.



Through this exhibition, I learned the lineage of care and working well together between those concerned citizens, researchers, scientists, and different organizations in conserving and protecting trees, and nature in general. Hong Kong is a fast-growing country and it is undeniable that each year, there is massive destruction of trees. This causes extreme weather conditions. Summer here is so hot as if we aren't living under a roof. Cold seasons are sometimes hot, and oftentimes, the temperature would decline suddenly which requires us to use a heater.

We are, as if, in the age of cruelty, and it is still us humans who are ruining our homes. So we must be responsible for rebuilding and protecting it so we could live comfortably and for future generations.

As one of the adages in this exhibition says:

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second time is now."


Watch the enchanting Tree Hugger VR experience here:

Happy weekend everyone.

(All photos are mine)



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