The Way of the Sea, Flying Beyond Borders: Colors of Life

teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

The Way of the Sea, Flying Beyond Borders: Colors of Life

teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

This work starts when shoals of fish leave their exhibition spaces. The fish cross the boundaries of other works, and swim around freely as they influence the artwork spaces that they enter. People who enter this space are assigned a certain color, and when they touch a fish, it takes on the same color.

This work is part of a series called The Way of Birds. “The way of the bird” is a Zen expression that refers to how the flight of a bird is free, as opposed to the fixed roads in the human world. The way of the bird is free, unfettered, and leaves no trace. Here, the birds are replaced with fish.

The movement of thousands of fish is beautiful and mysterious, appearing like a single giant life form. The shoal has neither a leader nor mutual consensus, but it is said that the fish move on the simple basis of; if my neighbor moves, then I move too. However, the biological mechanism that causes hundreds of fish to move at the same time remains a mystery. It seems there is a universal principle that humans have yet to understand. Likewise, the arrangement of color of the shoal is not predetermined. Influenced by people, the fish move, based on a primitive rule unknown to humankind, which in turn creates a complex and beautiful coloration in the space.

The artwork is not a pre-recorded image that is played back; it is created by a computer program that continuously renders the work in real time. The interaction between people and the installation causes continuous change in the artwork, so previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur. The picture at this moment can never be seen again.