Featured on MY MODERN MET, Mar 3, 2014

Flowers Burst Into Bloom as Visitors Walk Up to Wall

How would you like to walk up to a wall full of flowers and see them beautifully bloom? Well now you can if you’re in Japan. In this digital installation, flowers cover four inner walls of a former sewing factory in Usuno, Bungotakada. Chrysanthemums and roses bloom and explode into cascades of petals as visitors approach the walls of the darkened room, then they wither away as flowers from another season begin to blossom.

It’s called Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together and it’s made by teamLab, a group of tech specialists that include programmers, architects, CG animators and more. “We create works through ‘experimentation and innovation’ making the borders between Technology, Art, and Design more ambiguous,” they state.

Flowers native to the Kunisaki Peninsula, where the exhibition is located, are displayed in the installation. The species of flowers in the artwork changes ever hour to reflect the variety of flowers found there. The work is rendered in real time, by a computer program, and is not a loop. The interaction between the viewer and the installation causes the artwork to continually change.

Here’s the meaning behind the piece, by teamLab. “When teamLab visited the Kunisaki Peninsula in spring, we saw many flowers

Featured on ニューヨークで鑑賞する新しい日本美術。「異形の楽園」展。, Oct 29, 2014


同時代に生きるアーティストの作品を鑑賞することは、自分の生きている世界について新たな視点を与えてくれることのような気がします。日本美術というカテゴリーは、そのテーマやモチーフ、歴史背景などから日本人であっても、逆に馴染みが薄い人も多いかもしれません。今月ニューヨークのジャパン・ソサエティーで始まった展覧会は日本美術に対する既成概念をいい意味で覆してくれました。今回の企画「異形の楽園:池田学、天明屋尚、チームラボ」は1960年代後半以降に生まれたアーティストたちの作品を展示しています。ギャラリー館長の手塚美和子氏によれば「この3作家は、ペン、ペイント、さらにはソフトウェア等、それぞれが違うツールを使いながら、自分達の良さを最大限に引き出し、見るものを異次元の幻想的な世界へと導きます」と説明しています。展覧会場はまず、池田学が製作した12点の作品に迎えられます。入口で配布された虫眼鏡で拡大して見なくてはならないほどに細密に描かれた作品の数々。ハイライトは2008年に製作された「予兆」という作品です。4枚のパネルによって構成された大きな波をモチーフとしたもので、高層ビルや車、人などを巻きみながらうねりをあげるその様子は3.11の大津波を連想させる、というので震災後は展示が自粛されていたとか。今回は日本国外での初公開、さらに震災後初の一般公開となるそうです。1点を完成させるまでには何年もの時間を要するそうで、全体の下絵を描いてから仕上げるのでなく、一部分ずつ描き込みながら、パーツを広げていくという方法をとっているのだそうです。次のルームはチームラボによる展示です。彼らは2001年に設立されたグループで、日本のスティーブ・ジョブスとも称される猪子寿之のもと、アーティストやプログラムエンジニア、建築家、数学者、アニメーターなど多彩なクリエーター300人以上による大所帯です。日本の古典美術をテーマにしたデジタルアートを製作し、最近ではニューヨークのペースギャラリーでも展覧会を開催しました。今回は江戸時代の奇想画家として知られる伊藤若冲による「鳥獣花木図屏風」をリソースとした大きなモニターの作品などを展示しています。8枚のパネルにはカラフルな花園に象や鳥など動物たちが映っており、鑑賞者が近づくと画面が反応する、というインタラクティブな作品となっています。ほか、今回の展覧会のために製作された「Flowers and People―Gold and Dark」という作品は部屋全体にフローラルパターンが投影されており、壁や床に触れることによって開花したり、散ったりといった植物の一生と対話できるような作品となっています。そして展覧会最後は天明屋尚による初の大型インスタレーション「韻」が設置されています。レオナルド・ダ・ヴィンチやミケランジェロなどルネッサンス時代の巨匠たちが描いたバトルシーンにも影響を受けたというこの作品は1対になった2枚の絵と、真っ赤な砂による枯山水の庭で構成されています。ミラーイメージのように反転した状態の絵は、実はどちらかがコピー(デジタルプリント)。鑑賞者の目利きぶりを試される、かのような作品でもあります。アーティストいわく現代の“和魂洋才”的手法によって製作されたこの作品、全員全く同じ風貌の兵士たちはふんどし姿に艶やかな黒髪に滑らかな肌が特徴。ある意味で肉体のリアリティがなく、フィギュアが描かれているようにも感じました。制作方法もメディアも、そしてコンセプトも、ほんとうに三種三様の作品。でもどれも日本美術の“現在”、そして私たちの住む世界の今を象徴しているといっていいでしょう。ニューヨークで鑑賞する新しい日本美術。今、お薦めの展覧会です。Garden of Unearthy Delights: Works by Ikeda, Tenmyouya & teamLab
異形の楽園:池田学、天明屋尚、チームラボ (2015年1月11日まで)
Japan Society / 333 East 47th St. New York
Tel: 212-832-1155

Featured on QUARTET, Oct 28, 2014


博報堂生活総合研究所が1992年から2014年まで各年で調査した生活者観測データが完全無料で公開されました。生活定点では、同じ条件で設定した調査地域で、同じ状況の調査対象者を毎回新たに抽出。同じ質問を繰り返し投げ掛け、その回答の変化を定点観測している時系列調査です。(Excerpt from the text)

Featured on SANKEI EXPRESS, Oct 13, 2014

ともに生きる「花と人」 チームラボ、国東半島芸術祭に最新作

別府湾、伊予灘、周防灘(すおうなだ)に囲まれ、中央には火山群がそびえ立つ。放射状に伸びた谷が分断する6つの集落に分かれ、独自の文化が育まれてきた大分県の国東(くにさき)半島で、若者から支持を集める「チームラボ」(猪子(いのこ)寿之代表)の最新作「花と人、コントロールできないけれども、共に生きる- kunisaki peninsula」が公開されている。半島に咲く花々をモチーフにした体験参加型のインスタレーション作品だ。
(Excerpt from text)

Featured on J-COLLABO.ORG, Oct 11, 2014


Interview with Toshiyuki Inoko

– What is the concept and highlights of the current exhibition at Japan Society in New York?

This time, we have exhibited three pieces, two of which are interactive works.

“United, Fragmented, Repeated and Impermanent World” was created based on an artwork by Ito Jakuchu, an Edo-period painter. It is an interactive digital art piece since it gradually changes in response to viewers’ gestures.

There is also a space that showcases “Flowers and People – Gold and Dark” that has the function to make flowers fall when you touch them and to keep the flowers blooming when you remain a certain distance from them. Flowers bloom and die naturally without any interruption by humans. But in this art piece, the lives of flowers become shorter when you touch them and more flowers bloom if you stay away from them.

These kinds of interactive artworks are affected by viewers’ behaviors and they become complete art pieces by including viewers rather than having them as observers.

– Please tell us about team members of the project as well as the process from the design to the completion of your artwork.

“Life survives by the power of life” is created by a 3D CG animation team. First of all, we created a three-dimensional space on a computer and drew flowers and calligraphic brush strokes for the art piece in that space. Then, we transformed the drawings into animations using our theory of a logical structure of space called “Ultra Subjective Space.”

For “United, Fragmented, Repeated and Impermanent World,” we drew motifs inspired from Ito Jakuchu’s painting and then our CG team made three-dimensional objects of the drawings, which were then animated in a three dimensional space. The video was edited by computer to make tiles that make the mural change into abstract pixels when viewers face the tiles. The team for the project was made up of artists, a group of people for 3D animation, and engineers for the sensors.

I don’t envision the completed final versions of our artworks from the beginning. They are created through trial and error and we continually make improvements to our art pieces.

– What made you establish teamLab?

The main purpose of launching teamLab is to fulfill my personal interest. Not by myself, but with people with various specialties enabling us to experiment with a lot of new things. I wanted to offer a place where we can create and learn something new through experimentation. That’s why my company’s name includes the word “Lab.”

Right before going to college, the Internet came out and I recognized the coming of a new digital society, which led me to have an interest in creating something new in that new society. I was especially interested in changing people’s sense of value by innovation through technology and the arts.

However, the technological innovation had already been made by talented people in Silicon Valley – at such a spectacular level that I couldn’t compete with it. Therefore, I decided to focus on expanding the definition of art using digital technology and changing people’s minds by art, both of which hadn’t been done in Silicon Valley.

– Which aspects of the arts did you focus on?

Since I was little I have been immersed in computer games and comic books. For me they captured a space in a different way from that of Western perception, such as the space captured by a camera. One day, when I looked at a traditional Japanese art painting, I felt the way that the computer games and comic books are depicted on a flat screen is similar to that of traditional Japanese paintings. Then I started to look at many old Japanese paintings, and felt that old Japanese artists may have had a different spatial logic than that of Western perspective that fixes your view when you flatten a three-dimensional space. In the ideas of physics, which was my major at college, lenses and Western arts are considered to be a logical way to convert a three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional space. However, I thought flat pictures of traditional Japanese arts are a result of a unique Japanese logic to convert a three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional flat screen.

It was at the time when I was about to go to college that the internet rolled out, and I was so interested in the areas of computers, digital, Internet and computer networks that I started to think I wanted to work in that field. Computers enabled me to interpret a three-dimensional world to a two-dimensional space in a variety of ways, so by using the computers I was trying to find out the Japanese spatial logic that is common to the old Japanese arts. Then by using that logic, I started to create Japanese art pieces myself.

– What did you want to represent in your artworks? 

A reason that I started to create the artworks is because I wanted to find out the old Japanese spatial logic that is different from the Western perspective. When you look back at history, after big revolutions new ideas were introduced and completely new societies were established. In that process, things that had been important before the revolutions turned out not to be and vice versa. Therefore, I thought the old Japanese spatial concept was something that was disregarded in the modern society because there were no benefits to us. However, I believe there are some tips for the new society in that idea and I’m interested in finding it out and making things that go on into the future.

When you look for the traditional Japanese spatial logic, a common approach would be to read through old documents as historians do, but in my case I created simulations using a computer since my background is in physics. In the beginning, I had no idea about how the benefits from the traditional Japanese perspective go along with this new society and I started to find it out through a process of making my own artworks. So I kept making art pieces without thinking of places to showcase them.

– What are characteristics of teamLab’s artworks?

Featured on New York Times, Oct 10, 2014

At the Japan Society, Old Traditions and New Techniques

Call it Japanese art, 2.0. The Japan Society’s latest exhibition, “Garden of Unearthly Delights,” includes, among other pieces, a modern take on a zen garden; new riffs on traditional woodblock-style prints; and adaptations of Japanese screen paintings made using digital renderings, animation and 3-D graphics. In putting the show together, the gallery’s director, Miwako Tezuka, worked with the independent curator Laura J. Mueller to find two artists and an art collective whose work conveys the breadth and talent of the new guard of Japanese artists. They are, in Tezuka and Mueller’s eyes, true “takumi,” or artisans who take to their subject matter with a meticulousness that is inherently Japanese.

The artist Hisashi Tenmyouya refers to his style of work as “basara,” or outlaw culture, and his pieces are equally defiant and respectful of tradition. His zen garden, which takes over most of a room, is Tenmyouya’s first large-scale installation and was inspired by the Ryōan-ji temple in Kyoto — with a twist. The “rocks” and “sand” (made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester and calcium carbonate, respectively) are embedded with skulls, and the sand is colored crimson, to symbolize the devastation and unrest caused by Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the natural disasters of March 11, 2011, and the Senkaku Islands dispute.

The zen garden is part of “Rhyme” (2012), which includes a large diptych, one half of which is a digital rendition of the other. The work’s distinctive background coloring echoes traditional Japanese art made with kinpaku (gold leaf); meanwhile, the foreground imagery depicts men in loincloths, riding horses in battle. By coupling Japanese feudal-era art with traditional screen painting, Tenmyouya brings a new perspective to two genres.

The focal point of Manabu Ikeda’s work is nature: primarily, climate change and man’s participation in it. In Ikeda’s hands, nature becomes anthropomorphic, powerful and perhaps even vindictive, as if preparing to reclaim the landscape from mankind — which might represent a kind of justice in the artist’s eyes. “I grew up in the country, ” he says, “I love rock climbing, hiking and fishing. It’s sad to watch nature disappearing, fading away.”

Inspired by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, “Meltdown” depicts industrial factories precariously perched atop a large block of ice, which looks like a glacier about to strike a large field of grass. Ikeda was in Vancouver in March 2011 when the tsunami hit Japan, and “Meltdown” juxtaposes the beautiful local Canadian scenery against the destruction in Fukushima.

“Foretoken” might be the more controversial of Ikeda’s two large-scale paintings in the exhibition. The work, a nod to Hokusai’s famous woodblock painting “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” — with its large, looming waves absorbing all of civilization in their wake — was created in 2008 but hasn’t been shown since then. Museum representatives in Japan told him the public wasn’t ready to experience the piece after March 11, Ikeda explains; its imagery was too reminiscent of the 23-foot tsunami. He hopes for a better reception in New York.

TeamLab, a design collective whose work varies from creating websites to fine art, considers its style to be all-around “positive.” Initially founded by five graduates of the prestigious Tokyo University, the company has since ballooned to approximately 350 employees. About 15 of those employees were central to “Flowers and People — Gold and Dark” (2014), a digital landscape of flowers that encompasses a whole room at the exhibition. Team Lab offers viewers a way to participate in the art: By walking on the floor or touching the walls, attendees will set off a motion that propels the flowers to bloom, wither and fall from the trees.

“What you are watching at this moment will never repeat itself forever,” says Ikkan Sanada, an advisor for Team Lab. “It’s a very complicated software; even TeamLab doesn’t know what will happen. The basic structure, the kind of flowers used and such are already programmed, but in which order and where it happens is very random.”

“Garden of Unearthly Delights: Works by Ikeda, Tenmyouya & teamLab,” begins today at the Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, (212) 832-1155;

Featured on Sankei News, Oct 4, 2014

「人と自然の関係を感じ直して」 チームラボ、花々をモチーフに最新作 国東半島芸術祭

サイエンス、テクノロジー、デザイン、アートの専門家らで構成するウルトラテクノロジスト集団「チームラボ」(猪子寿之代表)が最新作「花と人、コントロールできないけれども、共に生きる - kunisaki peninsula」を出品する国東半島芸術祭が4日、大分県豊後高田市などで始まった。(
Excerpt from text)

Featured on The Creators Project, Sep 8, 2014

Catch 3D Holographic Fish At Seaside Projection Mapping Exhibition

Digital art studio teamLab—known for their interactive, often smartpone-enabled installations—have turned their projection mapping prowess towards Japan’s Kagawa Water Front Festival, transforming a boat and seaside into a 3D holographic fishing hole.

Using their smartphones as a fishing pole, enthusiastic festival-goers could cast a line into the Inland Sea and race to “capture” giant digital fish project not on a screen, but on water and mist. The 3D projection mapped game—dubbed Guruguru Reel—let participants experience the thrill of seaside fishing, but without the the smell, cleanup, and, well, fish. 

Afterward the game ended, teamLab 3D projected two other recent artworks, Water Spatial Calligraphy: Beauty, and Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well. TeamLab’s penchant for mixing technology with traditional forms of entertainment (be it fireworks, or fishing) make for an immersive festival experience. Now if only Guruguru Reel displayed the “weights” of each catch.

Take a look at some of the top highlights from the installation below:
For more of teamLab’s experiential work, head over to their website here.