With interactive pieces of art encompassing entire rooms that create an aura of flora and fauna, teamLab have successfully showcased their passion for integrating technology and design within nature.
teamLab was founded in 2001 by graduates from the University of Tokyo. They refer to themselves as ‘ultratechnologists’, as they draw on their combined knowledge of science, technology and design to beautifully execute these concepts harmoniously within the arts. ‘Transcending Boundaries’ is the future of art – when artificial intelligence and art interconnect, making teamLab’s work is interactive, dynamic, and immersive. This combination of computer science and the intricate light works in the Pace Gallery in London creates a stunning visual enchantment that is dangerously hypnotic. We were invited to attend the exhibition with the Science Gallery team in London and play with the lights.
Upon entering the first of three rooms, we were immediately struck by how captivating the displays are. One could easily forget that this is a ‘living’ piece of art work, and be lost in the surrounding digital beauty of the striking waterfall, sprouting flowers and dancing butterflies. Computer programmes generate the artwork in response to the behaviour of the gallery visitors. As such, the living canvas is continually evolving and moving; it can never be repeated or replayed. This snowflake of a room therefore gives visitors a very unique and personal touch. A waterfall trickles down the wall and across the length of the room before cascading, washing away the work you have produced from roaming the room, parting around your feet, to begin the creation again. Butterflies rupture from the confines of the dark spaces. They gather around the flowers growing under your feet, which scatter into petals when you move on, and die when you try to touch them (which Willow particularly enjoyed).
In ‘Dark Waves’ of the second room, the movement and interaction of hundreds of thousands of water particles are continually traced with lines, creating monumental waves that ebb, flow and crash into each other in a mesmerising dance. Reminiscent of Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa, you can truly appreciate the Japanese heritage which inspires this piece and brings an ancient art to life.
The final room is completely dark and only springs into life when visitors enter. Life creates life, where your presence results in flowers blossoming out of you and connects you with nearby human blooms. Not only is the relationship between visitors and the natural world emphasised and brought to life, but so is that between humans.
The resulting co-operative pieces are encapsulating sensory stimulations that are continually shifting in response to the behaviour and movement of both the visitors and the other pieces, breaking down the established attitude of spectator and canvas. This idea perfectly encompasses the team’s view of ultra subjective space, allowing visitors to transcend boundaries through digital means. Opportunities to visit this visual spectacular ended on the 11th of March, but we look forward to the next installation teamLab will bring to London.
Written by Fuad Mosis and Willow Hight-Warburton.