Transforming Space As A Medium With teamLab
by Carver Wilcox
"Digital [art] has allowed us to liberate art from the physical and transcend boundaries."
Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather, Art by teamLab, Sound by Hideaki Takahashi
teamLab is an interdisciplinary art collective of over 500 members who use space as their primary creative canvas. Retail spaces, galleries, dining venues and more are transformed into imaginative, seamless hybridizations of the digital and physical.
"When we started teamLab in 2001 at the rise of the digital age, we had the passion to eliminate boundaries and work beyond existing disciplines, which was becoming possible by digital technologies."
This collaborative exploration is the inspiration behind the namesake of the collective which is further driven by an interesting perspective on how technology has historically empowered us and how it can creatively evolve.
"It seems that the main focus for Silicon Valley originated technology is the extension of someone’s mind. Personal computers and smartphones are certainly extensions of the mind. Twitter is an extension of a person’s statements and Facebook is an extension of our personal relationships. These digital domains see the 'self' as the principle, and are meant to be used personally."
Many of teamLab's experiences are interactive and immersive, allowing participants to "think and feel with their whole bodies". Through physical engagement or, for instance, via mobile device such as within Digital Light Canvas (a commissioned work created for The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands), the resulting experience is one that "ambiguates the boundaries between people and the artwork".
With the current state of retail undergoing a "seismic" shift as reported in BoF's The State of Fashion 2018 and the emergence of spacial, experiential technologies, it is exciting to see how visionary artists such as teamLab are pioneering and influencing how space can be explored and utilized as a creative medium.
“If ‘light’ is our paint, we want to use everything as a canvas to make art. And if clients, including brands, resonate with our philosophy and provide us with a ‘canvas,’ we certainly would be happy to work with them.”
For open exhibitions, please see the following list:
teamLab : Au-delà des limites
People move freely, form connections and relationships with others, and recognize the world through their own bodies. The body has a concept of time. In the mind the boundaries between different thoughts are ambiguous, causing them to influence and sometimes intermingle with each other.
Artworks too can move freely, form connections and relationships with people, and have the same concept of time as the human body. While the artworks remain autonomous, they transcend the boundaries between the works, influence and sometimes intermingle with each other. This is one borderless world created by a group of such works.
People lose themselves in the artwork world. The borderless works transform according to the presence of people. As we immerse and meld ourselves into this unified world, we explore a new relationship that transcends the boundaries between people, and between people and the world.
Date: May 15 - Sep 09, 2018
La Grande Halle De La Villette, Paris, France
Au-delà des limites, 2018, La Villette, Paris, France © teamLab
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless
teamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. Artworks move out of the rooms freely, form connections and relationships with people, communicate with other works, influence and sometimes intermingle with each other.
Create new experiences with others, immerse yourself in borderless art, and explore the world with your body.
In a vast complex, three-dimensional 10,000 square meter space, 520 computers and 470 projectors create a completely new world, the likes of which have never been seen before.
Jun 21, 2018 - Permanent
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM, Tokyo, Japan
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, 2018, Tokyo, Japan © teamLab
teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live
The 500,000-square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created 172 years ago in 1845, during the end of the Edo period. Sitting on the borderline of the park is a 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine, which is Japan’s 7th largest. Also in the heart of the garden is another 300-year-old sacred tree. Our forebears turned a portion of this magnificent forest, with Mifuneyama Mountain at the center, into a garden while utilizing the trees of the natural forest. The border between the garden and wild forest is so ambiguous that when wandering through the garden people will enter into the woods and animal trails. Enshrined in the forest is the Inari Daimyojin deity surrounded by a huge natural rock. The cave houses the Five Hundred Arhats and the Three Buddha Figures that are carved into the rock face, believed to have been carved by the great priest Gyoki 1,300 years ago.
The forest, rocks, and caves of Mifuneyama Rakuen have formed over millions of years, and for thousands of years people have sought meanings in them. The park that we know today sits on top of this history. It is the ongoing relationship between nature and humans that has made the border between the forest and garden ambiguous, keeping this cultural heritage beautiful and pleasing. Lost in nature, where the boundaries between man-made garden and forest is unclear, we feel like we exist in a continuous, borderless relationship between nature and humans. It is for this reason that teamLab decided to create an exhibition in this vast, labyrinthine space, so that people will become lost and immersed in the exhibition and nature.
teamLab is executing an art project called “Digitized Nature” where “Nature Becomes Art.” The concept of the project is that non-material digital art can turn nature into art without harming it.
We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives. When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, caves, and the forest that have been formed over the eons, are the shapes of the continuous cycle of life itself. By applying digital art to this unique environment, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of life.
Date: Jul 19 - Oct 28, 2018
Mifuneyama Rakuen, Takeo Hot Spring, Kyushu, Japan
teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live, 2018, Takeo, Kyushu, Japan, © teamLab