Culture December 4, 2016
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to become totally immersed in a piece of art? Or what it would feel like to fly among the stars without an airplane or space shuttle? What about witnessing the relationship between humanity and nature?
If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, you need to visit the Japanese exhibit “Future Worlds” ASAP. Who created this huge Japanese exhibit, which features four main interactive installations, including a “crystal universe”? And why is this exhibit turning the art world on its head? ENTITY is here to share everything you need to know.
The brain behind this groundbreaking exhibit is a group of “ultra technologists” called teamLab from Tokyo, Japan. The group boasts over 400 members of designers, engineers and artists, all of whom aim to explore humanity’s interconnectedness through the creation of an interactive digital installation. The group’s founder, Toshiyuki Inoko, explains that teamLab wanted to “think about a new way for art to be. Not just works of art, but including everything: space, viewers, even the market.”
Various other artists like James Turrell and Doug Wheeler have used immersive art to add a new dimension (literally) to art. Conducts an orchestra of light, sound, video, digital programs and virtual reality environments, teamLab hopes to make visitors think about the message of the piece. Some of the exhibit’s spaces even produce relevant scents in order to involve another of viewers’ five senses. Tech lovers and art aficionados finally have a masterpiece they can both enjoy.
Have you ever walked into a museum, looked at a piece of art and saw a big “Do not Touch” sign a few inches away? No such thing exists with teamLab’s exhibit. In fact, viewers partially help the exhibits come to life thanks to a combination of mobile devices, sensors and computerized images.
Viewers can walk through the universe, splash their feet in a pond with the koi fish, witness the blossoming of flowers falling from the sky, walk through a forest that changes color to the touch and send wireless connections through floating balls that change color. None of the installations are pre-recorded or animated; everything is experienced in the present. Visitors aren’t standalone viewers, but participants who influence each world, changing its ebb and flow with a simple twitch of a finger.
The most popular space within the 3,000-square meter exhibit is the Crystal Universe, which allows you to feel as if you are flying through the universe, surrounded by millions of stars, planets and space material flashing and whirring past. How does it work? The stars are created by thousands of strands of LED lights, which react to movement. Viewers can change the the colors of the “stars” using a smartphone app.
According to teamLab leader Inoko, “I really wanted to make art that would make people think, ‘Wow! Tokyo is awesome!'” Well, if Tokyo can basically function as a makeshift pocket of outer space, Inoko has probably reached that goal.
Let’s take a trip back to art class. As long as you didn’t snooze through your class sessions, you probably learned that the basic building blocks of painting is a canvas and materials like paint and colored pencils. For teamLab, though, “our artwork is light and our canvas is everything.”
READ MORE: Embracing the Old and New at the MET
Instead of relying on technology as a “make it or break it” center of the exhibit, teamLab uses technology as a tool to make an original concept come to life. Through technology, everyone is connected, which Inoko hopes to recreate between viewers and the exhibit. He explains, “The biggest difference is we can make people participate in the artwork or we can make people part of this artwork and that is very important. I’m not against the Mona Lisa, but if I see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, the relationship is one-by-one.”
The exhibit has appeared in several different museums and under a variety of different names. However, in a partnership with the Art science Museum, teamLab has presented its exhibit “Future World” to the public since March, 2016. While it may cost a pretty penny to buy a plane ticket to Singapore, it does mean you could cross “Singapore’s largest permanent digital art gallery” off your bucket list.
Plan to see the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo? Don’t miss out on this wondrous display of digital art. Who knows, you might make some “connections” there.
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