by Dilpreet BhullarAug 22, 2022
The interactive digital work The World of Irreversible Change by teamLab was unveiled at the latest edition of Art Basel 2022 in Basel, Switzerland. teamLab is an international art collective – encompassing a group of various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects. The digital and interactive art created by the collective over the years has continued to disturb the (in) visible boundaries between human and their surroundings. The World of Irreversible Change changes its appearance in accordance with the real-time shift in the day. The dawn time in the real-world anchors morning in the six channels of digital work. If rains greet the day of the work’s location, it pours in the work. The course of the day determines the pattern of light, and the presence of flora also proliferates with the change in the seasons in the artwork.
The stories and lives of the inhabitants in the work are closely linked to the real-time interaction with the viewers. “The actions of viewers influence the world of the artwork. The people in the artwork respond when a viewer touches them,” mentions the official release. The interest and intensity of the audience’s interaction with the people also regulate their daily lives. To mention, if the interaction is confined to a limited period of time, the people return to their daily routine. Along with this, the festivals and events and the time of day continue to shape the life of the people. Various stories take place every day, and the lives of people continue eternally.
In an interview with STIR, teamLab talks about the different layers of ideation and execution process that define interactive artwork The World of Irreversible Change before its final form is presented to the audience. “With all of our works, they are created by a team of specialists through a continuous process of creation and thinking. The large concepts are always defined from the start but the project goal tends to remain unclear, so we need the whole team to create and think as we go along. Once the large concept of the artwork is set, specialised members related to the work come together and think more finely about the details.”
The continuous interaction between the audience and the artwork raises the possibility of a fight and death amongst the group of people in the artwork. A fight within a motley of people soon spreads to the city, which turns into tall flames. The fire lasting for a year proves to be fatal for the people. With the collapse of the city due to a fire, the people of the artwork also die. The idea of “borderless continuity of life” is crucial to the practice of teamLab. Yet, the collective is attentive to the view that every destruction does not confirm regeneration.
Since it is the close interaction with the audience that leads to the debacle, teamLab talks about the element of interactive and its importance in their art practice, “In art installations, with the viewers on one side and interactive artworks on the other, the artworks themselves undergo changes caused by the presence and behaviour of the viewers. This has the effect of blurring the boundary lines between the two sides. The viewers actually become part of the artworks themselves. The relationship between the artwork and the individual then becomes a relationship between the artwork and the group. Whether or not another viewer was present within that space five minutes before, or the particular behaviour exhibited by the person next to you suddenly becomes an element of great importance. Art now has the ability to influence the relationship between the people standing in front of the artworks.”
From the ruins of the city, the fresh breeze still passes as well as the change in the season and light set the course of the day. After the due passage of time, nature blooms and flowers grow. The human interaction that led to the fight and decimation of the population does not interfere with the progression of nature. Despite the zero presence of the human, nature breathes life – withers and flourishes like an unbroken chain of natural events. However, the fire ensued destruction could not bring back the world like it was. The scars it bore could not be fully sutured.
The “perpetually-transforming” work The World of Irreversible Change suggests certain aspects of life do not return to their original form after the conflict, despite the course of a perpetual journey undertaken by a certain aspect of life. “We hope they are moved by the experience in some way, and that it provides an opportunity to explore what we ourselves try to explore through our works: the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art,” concludes teamLab.