by Shraddha NairJul 02, 2020
There is an ancient proverb which goes like this, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. There is nothing one can say to better encapsulate the work produced by teamLab. Founded in 2001, the international art collective started in Japan as a space for collaborative projects amongst programmers and designers alike. Today the team includes artists, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects as well. In the permanent exhibition sprawled across ArtScience Museum, teamLab showcases a series of immersive and interactive digital installations. Recently, teamLab added five new installations to the expansive showcase which is, by itself, a testament to the power of collaboration.
Titled Future World: Where Art Meets Science, this display of works exclusively by teamLab aims to push the walls around our ideas of how one is supposed to experience art, while also re-imagining the way we understand and engage with our natural environment. Since its launch in 2016, the exhibition has received over two million visitors, drawing them into this otherworldly experience. Future World is divided into four key zones - City in a Garden, Sanctuary, Park and Space. The new additions to Future World include the Southeast Asia debut of ‘Proliferating Immense Life - A Whole Year per Year’ (2020), which is a giant interactive mural of blooming flowers. The installation has been created by teamLab with a contribution by Hideaki Takahashi in the form of sound design. The large format artwork is a generative and interactive installation, which algorithmically renders flowers which are currently in season. The flower bud grows and blossom before beginning to wither and eventually fade away. The visual is responsive to the viewer in the room, scattering and disappearing when touched. This is perhaps a symbolic reference to the way man’s extensive ‘movement’ in the form of building and creating destroys nature, while stillness allows it to thrive. Just like in nature, previous visual states can never be replicated and will never recur. The picture the visitors observe in the gallery when they visit can never be seen again.
The other new additions to Future World include 100 Years Sea (running time: 100 years) (2009), Impermanent Life, at the Confluence of Spacetime New Space and Time is Born (2018), Enso - Cold Light (2018) and The Way of Birds (2020). 100 Years Sea is a video installation with a running time of a hundred years. The work references our current struggle with climate change and visualises the rising sea levels which are slowly growing in impact. This installation uses traditional Japanese art, a recognisable inclusion here but a more subtle but unmistakable influence in other works by teamLab.
‘The Way of Birds’ is another fascinating work by the art collective which showcases their incredible capacity to make the most of technology and artistic prowess to emulate our natural environment in an immersive manner. The installation calls attention to the beautiful movement of flocks of birds. Their in-built biological mechanism guides them in this seamless process, a movement which is mimicked by the computer-generated program by teamLab. In this installation, the flock of birds responds to the visitors’ presence as they fly. The birds leave behind a trail of light as they fly through the space, dissolving the boundaries between the artwork and visitor.
This permanent exhibition created in collaboration with teamLab is on display at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.