After seeing our acquaintance’s bedazzled photos on Instagram, I went with Taki to explore a futuristic exhibit of art by teamLab, an art collective made up of artists, engineers, programmers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects originally based in Tokyo, Japan. They now have offices in Singapore and Shanghai. The group focuses on creating their digital art to “expand art” beyond the 2-D form and to change the relationships among people, who view the artwork (see their Concept page for more information).
At the PACE art + technology gallery in Menlo Park, CA, they presented the “Living Digital Space & Future Parks” exhibit from February 6 to December 18, 2016. The exhibit consisted of twenty digital art installations, specifically the Crystal Universe, Black Waves in Infinity, Black Waves, Flowers and People; Ever Blossoming Life II, Flowers and People – A Whole Year per Hour, Crows are Chased and the Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well; Cold Life, Universe of Water Particles, and Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12.
What stood out to me while looking at the installations was how they appealed to your senses and presence. For example, in Flowers and People, the artwork is rendered in real time by a computer program. Depending on the proximity of a person to the installation, the flowers bud, grow, bloom, and wither away. This interaction with the artwork is quite appealing.
The Crystal Universe was a highlight of the exhibit as noted by the number of photos that I have seen on Instagram and Facebook. The installation is much like a pointillist painting and the colors and the lights change as an individual wanders through the exhibit. Quite a mesmerizing experience!
For Taki, the Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well was her favorite. Crows whiz by on multiple screens, from one screen to the next and toward the viewer. They chase and eventually are chased by each other until they become petals and scatter away. This particular piece challenges the viewer’s spatial awareness and simply draws the viewer in to the motion and flight of the crows.
As for me, my favorite was Cold Life, which examines the essence of the character 生 (Japanese/Chinese Mandarin for life). The character becomes a tree and goes through the life cycle of the tree. The simplicity of this piece is what appealed to me and for me, it signifies what it means to live a full and fruitful life.
Overall, this was an enjoyable exhibit that explores modern digital art utilizing the techniques many Japanese animators use today. It is of note, that teamLab has exhibits in many parts of the world and continues to evolve with each new digital piece.