Borderless Art

By special guest blogger: Oliver Trapnell

Utilizing some of the latest technology, teamLab has created a truly unique experience in which one can interact and visualise art in new ways. The opening last month of ‘teamLab Borderless’ at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum (1-3 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tokyo-to) has been a rousing success attracting hundreds of tourists and art enthusiasts every day (entrance fee ¥3,200).

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The museum boasts over 520 computers and 470 projectors in its 10,000mspace. The art feels as though it is coming alive due to its constant fluid motion and its unique ability to interact with the museum patrons. Further, the art is able to freely move from area to area, as well as interact with other projections, meaning that every second in the exhibition feels fresh. One can return to previous areas to see how the exhibit has changed with the passing minutes and hours.

It’s very easy to be entranced by everything that’s happening, so much so in fact, that you can spend a very long time there (I spent a good 4~5 hours trying to capture as much of the magic as I could).

The art itself is divided into a variety of areas and styles. A few of my favourites include:

  • Floating Nest: a unique area suspended about 5 metres from the ground in which you can lie back and watch the room swirl and dance as though you are a baby bird watching the night sky sparkle.
  • Crystal World: a thin path flows through a sea of hanging lights through which the elements are portrayed. Thunderous Rain, the Brilliance of the Sun, Tumbling Stars… these are only a few of many options that are envisioned through these lights. However the best part of this exhibit in my mind is the ability to choose the element that represents you. Through either the control panel in a small corner of the room, or through the teamLab app, you can ‘play God’ by changing the nature of the room in an instant.

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  • Black Waves: become mesmerised by this continuous piece of art in which endless waves continue to crash and swirl around you. The waves are reminiscent of the style seen in the famous Japanese woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ by Katsushika Hokusai in which a great wave dominates even the great Mt. Fuji. Black Waves deifies the sea to represent the overwhelming ocean that surrounds Japan.
  • Memory of Topography: this piece, inspired by rural Japan, represents the immortality of the land. Upon entering the room, tall stalks tower above you, giving you a perspective of size, but as you walk out from this ‘undergrowth’ you emerge into a field of waist high plants that closely resemble Lily Pads. From this high point, light effects give the impression of gusts of wind passing around you and making the whole room feel like an outdoors experience.

For those wishing to take a break during their visit, the En Tea House offers four different types of green tea (¥500), each with a unique fragrance and flavour. Whilst seated, flowers of light begin blooming on the surface of your tea, and after every sip, the cycle of growth repeats again in new colours.

To entertain a younger audience, the Athletics Forest will certainly satisfy the needs of any child. With an array of activities ranging from creating your own digital art piece to multiple slides, this area is sure to entertain children and adults alike.

All in all, teamLab has created a modern marvel that feels truly out of this world. This exhibit is a thrill to behold, and could well warrant multiple trips to truly experience its full grandeur.

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