Speaking Willow - CODAworx

Speaking Willow


Location: Washington, WA, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

UAP | Urban Art Projects

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer


Incorporating diverse languages and voices to engage visitors. Born in Mexico City, artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is known for creating participatory installations that utilize digital technologies, light and telematic networks.

Commissioned to greet visitors at the newly opened Planet Word Museum in Washington DC, Speaking Willow is a 18-foot-tall electronic tree that is animated by lighting and audio recordings in different languages.

Designed to create an immediate interaction with visitors entering the museum, the work features lighting and audio recordings from a diverse array of voices and languages. The interactive audio and lighting effects are triggered by surrounding movement and offer an ever-changing, intimate and moving sculptural intervention.


The build of the tree needed to be cohesive with the audio and lighting.


Fabricated and installed on site by UAP, the work required complex fabrication methods to hand craft the trunk and branches from stainless steel. The work was then animated by 3.6 miles of ethernet cable, fed through the branches and fitted with individual speakers and lighting elements. UAP was engaged from the design development stage of this project through fabrication and installation.