Heaven and I are of the same root. All things and I are of the same substance.
Albert Einstein once said: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
In a world where chaos, destruction, greed and other human vices sometimes overpower the good, our explorative mind wanders through the realm of fantasy and dreams beyond the earth’s reality. It is not a bad thing. It is a declaration of human desire to relieve oneself of pain, suffering and emptiness, and cling on to the belief that somewhere in another untainted dimension, perennial beauty can be created.
TeamLab, an international art collective interdisciplinary group of artists, architects, engineers, mathematicians, and ultra-technologists may have been trying to achieve just that. The innovative group has been experimenting on the boundless relationship between humans and the physical world through the technology of art, light, colors, motion, sound, sensations, and science. It attempts to extrapolate a futuristic form of human expression that can be freed from physical constraints. A three-dimensional space can connect the viewers to the artworks by immersing their behavior and movement with the installation’s kinetic energy, as opposed to the conventional method of viewing art from a flat plane. Since the orthodox museum’s concept defines a circumscribed space between the art and the viewer, many viewers as mere observers find themselves alienated from the actual physical world of art itself; therefore, falling prey to a lack of deeper appreciation of tangible surroundings. teamLab tries to bridge this gap by enabling our mind, body and senses to enter into the existence of free-thinking and unsuppressed behavior. This constructed place is called “ultra-subjective space.” It has no center eve or boundaries, but rather a continuous dimension that can be divided, folded, or joined into new spaces.
Since 2001, teamLab has been showcasing its dynamic installations worldwide across New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, London, Paris, Helsinki, Istanbul, Sydney, Beijing, Singapore and more, apart from its Tokyo headquarters. Each exhibition is founded on the project’s fundamental concepts—changing relationships among people, digitizing nature, transcending boundaries, immersing the body with art, continuing the flow of time, co-creating new activities between humans and physical matter, and activating the bodily state to heighten the physical perception of objects.
In Toyosu, Tokyo, teamLab Planets showcases its virtual installations in five modular spaces. The newest space is Floating Flower Garden; Flowers and I are of the Same Root, the Garden and I are One. The artwork space is entirely filled with colorful live epiphytic orchids, which can grow by merely absorbing water from the air. The flowers float in the air like a canopy, and ascend slowly when a person passes below them. Then, they descend again when the person moves away. Orchids co-evolve with certain pollen-carrying insects. The time at which the insects become active determines the strength of the artwork space’s aroma. Completely mirrored rooms homogenize the visitors and the flowers into one entity. The overall sensation is utterly exhilarating that one wishes never to leave the space again.
In The Infinite Crystal Universe area, light points are used to create three-dimensional objects and expand infinitely in all directions. Mirrored walls, ceilings and floors project moving light in tantalizing colors of mixed blue, green, pink and purple. The teamLab phone application allows visitors to manipulate images on the light artwork, evolving the space into an infinite pulse of energy. The light patterns evolve endlessly according to the bodily movement and presence of the visitors.
Walking barefoot around the halls emphasizes the sensitivity of touch and texture as visitors continually become one with the three-dimensional space. As you approach the water-filled area of swimming carps and flowers in Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and People—Infinity, your feet start to feel the wet surface and rush of water from beneath. The dark atmosphere will soon be replaced by flowing trajectories of carps in illuminating colors. The fish swim according to the physical presence of humans. They magically turn into flowers when they collide with the human body. Petals rupture when people pass by the flowers. A computer program is set in real-time to manipulate the artwork; thus, achieving a truly interactive connection between the people and the physical world.
Expanding Three-Dimensional Existence in Transforming Space—Flattening 3 Colors and 9 Blurred Colors, Free Floating is a scintillating experience of being wrapped by gigantic spheres of free-floating light. One sphere acts as one dot that influences the colors of the other spheres when people push or bump them. High density, wind and pressure also change the overall space appearance. The color composition is based on Japanese traditional silk colors, which were replotted by combinations of gradations and weaving tints. The results produced: light in water, sunlight on water plants, morning glow, morning sky, sky at twilight, peach, plum, iris, spring maple, as well as blue, red, and green for flattening the hues.
Another new exhibit this summer is an installation of fire particles. Universe of Fire Particlesconsists of a luminous block of dark orange flames, which burst dramatically as a result of generated combustion. Visitors engage in a sensory experience based on their reaction toward the blazing fire particles. They can feel an air of mystery and passion as though the flames grow voluptuously in real life. The absolute black surroundings of the confined area also influence the shape of the flames.
Finally, perhaps considered as the most enthralling experience in the Toyosu venue is the Floating in the Falling Universe of Flowers. Visitors submerge in a circular dome of three-dimensional seasonal flowers floating in all directions. The mirrored flooring contributes to the multi-dimensional effect. The virtual artwork is manipulated in real-time; therefore, interacts with the people in an actual setting. When lying down on the floor, one feels being lifted up to the circulating universe, where hundreds of flower varieties dance in euphoric rhythm. Sunflowers, roses, daisies and other species enlarge and release their petals or fade in the dark, symbolizing the cycle of life and death. In this stolen moment, the world never feels so alive, showering visitors with perpetual joy. Digital technology’s unexpected capacity to trigger such a tantamount effect on human sensibilities can prove so overwhelming. While this phenomenon may be construed as an artificial presence to some, it gives birth to new and infinite possibilities for the future by which man can harmonize with the natural world.
In Japan, other teamLab venues can also be found in Odaiba, Roppongi, and Ginza in Tokyo, and Fukuoka.