The 500,000 square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created in 1845, during the end of the Edo period. Sitting on the borderline of the park is the 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine, which is Japan’s 7th largest. Also in the heart of the garden is another 300-year-old sacred tree. Our forebears turned a portion of this forest, with Mifuneyama Mountain at the center, into a garden, utilizing the trees of the natural forest. The border between the garden and the wild forest is ambiguous, and when wandering through the garden, people will find themselves entering the woods and animal trails. Enshrined in the forest is the Inari Daimyojin deity surrounded by a huge natural rock formation. The cave houses Buddha Figures that are carved directly into the rock face, believed to have been carved by the great priest Gyoki 1,300 years ago.
The forest, rocks, and caves of Mifuneyama Rakuen have formed over millions of years, and for thousands of years people have sought meaning in them. The park that we know today sits on top of this history. It is the ongoing relationship between nature and humans that has made the border between the forest and garden ambiguous, keeping this cultural heritage beautiful and pleasing.
Lost in nature, where the boundaries between man-made garden and forest is unclear, we feel like we exist in a continuous, borderless relationship between nature and humans. It is for this reason that teamLab decided to create an exhibition in this vast, labyrinthine space, so that people will become lost and immersed in the exhibition and in nature.
We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives, perhaps because humans can not recognize longer time than their own life.
When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, the caves, and the forest that have been formed over the years, are the shapes of the long, continuous cycle of life itself.
teamLab is executing an art project called Digitized Nature, where nature becomes art. The concept of the project is that non-material digital art can turn nature into art without harming it. Using the giant rocks, caves, forests, and gardens of Mifuneyama, teamLab has created a group of continuous life installations.
Story behind earth music&ecology's contribution
We feel a conceptual affinity between “teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live”, an art project created by a worldwide spectacle teamLab, and earth music&ecology. We will support the art collective over the long term.