Tokyo's New 'Floating Flower Garden' Is a Beautiful Thing—Which Is Exactly the Problem
Featured on CityLab, Mar 25, 2015
Tokyo’s New ‘Floating Flower Garden’ Is a Beautiful Thing—Which Is Exactly the ProblemCityLab
The public loves ethereal immersive installations, even if art critics don’t.
Did you enjoy the art installation “Rain Room” a few years back at MoMA PS1, but think that it had too much rain and not enough flowers? Tokyo has you covered.
An art collective called teamLab has designed an immersive interactive experience called “Floating Flower Garden” that works exactly like “Rain Room,” but with flowers. Visit Tokyo and you, too, can feel like you’re walking through the magical set of a Björk video.
Much as Random International’s “Rain Room” allowed visitors to walk through the rain without getting wet, “Floating Flower Garden” is designed so that viewers can walk through a hanging garden without getting … flowered. Sensors that detect an approaching viewer cause flowers in that viewer’s vicinity to rise. This setup allows for a “hemispherical space with the viewer at its center” that moves with the viewer, according to teamLab’s website.
The installation is now on view at Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Which might be my very favorite museum I’ve never visited. Check out these special exhibitions! I can’t decide between the cutey-pie poos of “Toilet?! Human Waste & Earth’s Future” and the call to action in “Pokémon Lab: You Do It! You Discover!”
Installation projects like “Rain Room” and “Floating Flower Garden” look like they’re made from 100 percent pure fun concentrate. But when institutions like the Museum of Modern Art get involved in hosting them, things get ugly. MoMA hosting “Rain Room” struck critics as a cynical ploy to move tickets. After all, “Rain Room” doesn’t present any scholarship or reveal anything about the direction of art or design or technology. It’s just a spectacle. A gimmick.
My bet is that “Floating Flower Garden” is cut from the same whimsical cloth—and that it will travel just as widely and do every bit as well as “Rain Room” did.