NEWS

Featured on JAPAN TRENDS, Sep 10, 2014

Infinity of Flowers: teamLab and Gucci create interactive digital floral installation

teamLab has got together with Gucci to create “Infinity of Flowers”, an interactive digital installation at the Gucci Shinjuku store from September 13th.Visitors will be able to “touch” the flowers on the screen and see them bloom, scatter, grow and wither. The installation using a computer program to “paint” the flowers in realtime on the screen. The imagery on the display is created spontaneously by the system. We look forward to the video that will surely be made.(Excerpt from the text)

Featured on Sankei News, Aug 8, 2014

夏の夜空…花と書が降ってきた チームラボ×紫舟、恵比寿にコラボ作品

夏の“夜空”を見上げていたら、たくさん草花とともにメッセージが降ってきた―。さまざまな分野のスペシャリストで構成されるウルトラテクノロジスト集団「チームラボ」と書道家、紫舟さんによるコラボレーション作品「降りそそぐ言葉、舞いおりる花-夏」が東京都渋谷区の恵比寿ガーデンプレイス センター広場で公開されている。
(Excerpt from text)

Featured on ARTcollectors' IN ASIA, Aug 6, 2014

「WE LOVE VIDEO THIS SUMMER」ペース北京初の映像作品展

ペース北京初の映像作品グループ展「WE LOVE VIDEO THIS SUMMER」は7月26日から北京・798芸術区で開催。ビデオ・アートを代表するビル・ヴィオラ、ヴェネチア・ビエンナーレの出展作家、イスラエルのミッシェル・ローバー、香港のパク・シュウン・チュエン、ビデオ・アートの先駆者、ソン・ドンや、今最も注目度の高いデジタルアートのアーティストグループ、日本のチームラボなど、15名・組のアーティストによる作品を展示している。
同展では、違う国、地域出身で、異なるコンセプトで作品を制作し続けてきたアーティストたちの作品を一堂に集結。ギャラリーを交流の場に変貌し、作品と作品、作品と観客が自由に会話・交流し、新たな関係性が生まれる。
一貫して「生と死」をテーマに制作をしているビル・ヴィオラの近作「Visitation」は、映像の流れと光の点滅で生と死の堺と循環を表現。初公開となるソン・ドンの詩的な作品「I don’t know」は、時間と物事の変化を捉えている。デジタルに発展によって、映像作品に新たな可能性が生まれ、今回は日本のアーティストグループのチームラボと、ノルウェイ作家のPia MYrvoLDによる作品が体験できる。テルアビブとニューヨークでの生活経験を活かし、アイデンティティ、人種問題など切実な政治問題に注目し、作品を制作してきたミッシェル・ローバー。ビデオ、ドキュメンタリー、映画とパフォーマンスの境界線を破った、ニューヨークの若手作家ダム・ペンドルトン。アニメーションを使い、作品を制作しているチュー・アンションの新作、台湾人作家のツィ・ゴァンユーや新鋭作家のホヮン・ロンファーなどの作品も出展してる。
また、ペースギャラリーの創立者であるアーニー・グリムチャーがプロデュースし、サイモン・トレヴァが監督のドキュメンタリー「White Gold」とパンダをモチーフにする前衛芸術家のジャオ・バンディの映画新作も会期中に上映している。「White Gold」は初めて現代象牙貿易に着目するドキュメンタリーで、英語版のナレーションが元アメリカ国務長官のヒラリー·クリントンが担当し、中国版が香港俳優のジャッキー・チェンが担当。

Featured on HYPERALLERGIC, Aug 5, 2014

Kitsch, Myth, and Technology: Japanese Art in the West

In a conference last year at the Mori Art Museum on the subject of internationalism in contemporary art, scholar Michio Hayashi theorized that the popular perception of “Japaneseness” in the West was cemented in the 1980s by triangulating “kitsch hybridity,” “primordial nature,” and “technological sophistication.” Today, popular (and especially commercially popular) contemporary art from Japan can still be placed somewhere inside that triangle. Two current shows in Chelsea, Duality of Existence – Post Fukushima at Friedman Benda and teamLab: Ultra Subjective Space at Pace Gallery’s two 25th Street locations, with their conceptions of dark and bright technological futures, certainly fit the formula.
At the entryway of Duality of Existence, the visitor faces a mannequin in a motorcycle outfit, its opaque helmet visor turned into a screen showing a highway of light. Circling around the body, we see that the helmet is fed by a gasoline nozzle that falls to the floor. Though the sculpture, “Mediator” by Yusuke Suga, was made in 2013, it feels like something from the 1980s: the emphasis on the mechanical, early anime biker cool, body-as-machine. This sets the tone for the exhibition, which suggests that the nuclear disaster of Fukushima marked a crisis of faith in the demateriality of the internet and a return to hard physicality. The show was co-curated by Reiko Tsubaki of the Mori Art Museum (where last year’s triennial also focused on artistic responses to nuclear disaster pre- and post-Fukushima) and Thorsten Albertz of Friedman Benda.
Kazuki Umezawa, following the techno-kitsch popularized by Takashi Murakami, creates digital renderings of anime characters like Sailor Moon thrown into wild, Boschian nether-spaces. He then stickers and paints on them to create further depth and visual chaos. His most radical alteration to the canvas comes with “AR Image Core Involving All” (2013), in which the viewer points an iPad at the painting, showing an augmented reality animation of the pieces in the work trembling and then falling away.
Quieter pieces fill the next few rooms: Motohiko Odani’s meditative two-channel video “A Dead Man Sleeping” (2013), which shows on one screen various objects falling into water in slow motion, then crashing and splintering, while on the other a single pendulum in water swings back and forth. The water, destruction, and memento mori are perhaps the show’s most direct reference to Fukushima. Odani also exhibits a suspended sculpture, a supposed “self-portrait study” from 2014, of watery filaments only vaguely suggesting a human head. This is complemented by Takahiro Iwasaki’s suspended classical Japanese building models reflected upside-down as if in a mirror, and delicately rendered in wood.
The most cutting work in the exhibition comes from the collective Chim ↑ Pom, whose member Ellie was denied entrance to the US after faking answers on her visa form. In response, she reworks Joseph Beuys’s legendary “I Like American and America Likes Me” performance of 1974, in which he was taken from the airport to a gallery, where he spent three days trapped with a coyote, then immediately flew back to Germany. Ellie is not here: a laptop sits on a table and plays her recorded video chats with gallery staff and immigration specialists. The room is decorated like Beuys’s, complete with straw, crates, and a roll of heavy gray felt. Ellie becomes both the dangerous coyote — also a play on the word for extralegal transporters of human bodies — and the innocent immigrant, omnipresent through the internet and a body stuck thousands of miles away.
While faith in technological sophistication is questioned in Duality, it’s lavishly celebrated by teamLab and Pace a block away. The centerpiece of the exhibition, a piece called “Crows are chased and the chasing crows are destined to be chased as well, Division in Perspective – Light in Dark” (2014), is a seven-projector, seven-screen spectacle installed alone in the larger gallery space. A digital animation follows the swerving flight of a series of crows, which leave contrails and splashing flowers in their wake. Not only are the multicolored birds and their intricate flights against a dark background mesmerizing, the “camera” in the imagined space circles and flies with them. The work, though, is spectacle without story, visual fireworks without emotional or mental stimulation. The background music recalls something like the introduction to an epic period movie, with key changes and heavy drums and swelling crescendoes.
Much richer is the 12-panel digital screen installation “Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12″ (2012). Like an unfolding handscroll, the work suggests a narrative across the panels but defies the traditional logic of a right-to-left reading. Each panel contains its own chapter of the mini-epic: we see dragons and armies of samurai, mountains that crumble and turn into digital grids, gold leafing assembling itself into new scenes — traditional Japanese painting motifs animated by dazzling high-definition digital. Though the loop is less than two minutes long, one could easily watch a single monitor several times. The whole spectacle is almost impossible to take in at once, a dizzying and immersive work.
The other four works on view are quieter, not-quite-still lifes. Two show digital flower arrangements aging and regenerating; another, a small waterfall on floating boulders, the liquid a neon blue. One could easily see them as luxury items in one of the gallery’s client’s homes, a deluxe, highbrow version of the back-lit moving waterfall paintings of American kitsch.
If we’re feeling cynical, we might call this phenomenon of kitsch and myth and technology a kind of Orientalism: looking to Japan to either rework Americana or to update their own future dystopias and epic pasts in palatable techno-glitter. If we’re being generous, we may see this as art-as-translation, a way to learn something about a national psyche through the pleasures and displeasures of technology. Yet the artists of Duality of Existence express their worries about a crisis that is not just Japan’s but all of ours — one of environment and power — while teamLab revels in the same technologies that keep us glued to our phone and tablet screens, simply pushing the wonderment further. Perhaps these artists, and so many others we know from Japan, are legible through the lens of Hayashi’s triangle for a reason: great swaths of contemporary America sit within it, too.

Featured on TimeOut New York, Aug 4, 2014

teamLab, "Ultra Subjective Space"

teamLab, “Ultra Subjective Space”Given the digital prestidigitation on display in their first U.S. show, the members of this Japanese art collective certainly live up to their self-billing as “ultra-technologists.” The same prefix is appended to the show title, “Ultra Subjective Space,” which paradoxically frames a collaborative effort as an individual experience in the form of six ambitious flatscreen and projection videos. How much you respond to their stuff depends on your tolerance for the sublime.
The sheer granularity of the imagery astounds, as does its uncanny sense of spatial depth. The pieces swarm with a vast multitude of details: falling blossoms, water droplets, tiny Edo-period farmers. Moving with the imperceptibility of still pictures stirring to life, they hearken back to Ukiyo-e and make literal its meaning in English: floating world.
In a phalanx of LED panels spanning one wall, a sequence begins with a gold backdrop parting like clouds to reveal teeming scenes of village life, dancing samurai warriors and flourishes of pure abstraction, all drifting at a hypnotic pace. Wire-frame illustrations used in the initial stages of computer animation occasionally swim into view, unveiling the machinery behind the magic.
Half of the proceedings are taken up by a proscenium made of projection screens. A pageant of painterly, gestural arcs moves across, shooing away a flock of crows like some magisterial, if mildly annoyed, intelligence vivifying the landscape.
The notion of an animistic universe is an ancient one in Japan, and it very much drives the work here. One can accuse it of being overly pretty, but its evocation of an anodyne, dreamlike realm beyond our contentious existence is difficult to resist.—Howard Halle

Featured on Sankei News, Aug 3, 2014

チームラボ360°スタジオで「元気ハツラツ!」 体験参加型イベント開催

サイエンス、テクノロジー、アート、デザインなどのスペシャリストで構成するウルトラテクノロジスト集団「チームラボ」が新たに開発した「チームラボ360°スタジオ」を導入したイベントが東京・新宿で開催された。夏バテを吹き飛ばす「元気ハツラツ!」な体験参加型のインスタレーションだ。
(Except from text)

Featured on PSFK, Aug 1, 2014

Immersive Exhibition Brings Traditional Japanese Art and Mythology to Life

The first US exhibition by Japanese Ultra-technologists teamLab takes visitors on a journey through space and time in seven digital screens.Ultra Subjective Space invites visitors to view the world from the perspective of the ancient Japanese
The first US exhibition by Japanese Ultra-technologists teamLab takes visitors on a journey through space and time in seven digital screens. New York’s Pace Gallery is hosting the exhibition, which blurs the boundary between the virtual and the ancient world.
The exhibition is based on the unique perspective of traditional Japanese painting. teamLab explains on the exhibition website:
teamLab believes that traditional “flat” Japanese painting has a different spatial logic to that of western perspective. We call this logic Ultra Subjective Space.
In seven large-scale screens, the teamLab translates this understanding of space into 3D narratives inspired by Japanese mythology.
For example, Flower and Corpse Glitch Set of 12 is an animation of twelve stories that explore the age of myth and the legendary 8 headed creature Yamata no Orochi.
To animate this narrative, teamLab constructed 3D objects in an artificial 3D space and then flattened the images to coincide with perspective in traditional Japanese art. During the animation, the viewer is given glimpses of the 3D space to show the creation process.
Ever Blossoming Life – Gold uses the traditional Japanese painting style but the artwork itself is drawn in real time by a computer program. The live animation shows the life cycle of a flower.
The website states:
Flowers are born, grow, and blossom in profusion before the petals begin withering and flowers die and disappear. The cycle of birth and death repeats itself, continuing for eternity and never duplicating previous states. The image shown now cannot be viewed again.
This is a live artwork that creates different images with every cycle, using a flower as a metaphor for the universal cycle of life and the uniqueness of every individual life.
Cold Life recreates calligraphy in 3D:
A calligraphic series of brushstrokes modelled in virtual 3D space forms the character 生(Japanese/Mandarin for ‘life’) which then metamorphoses into a tree. As time passes, various life forms begin emanating and growing from within the tree.
As with ‘Flower and Corpse Glitch’, this work also reveals its process, letting the viewer see behind the computer-generated images to the wireframe models underneath.
Universe of Water Particles is a cascade of hundreds of thousands of water particles flowing over a virtual rock, in five times the resolution of HD.
It is inspired by the way water is represented in traditional Japanese paintings, as curvilinear lines that made it appear to be a living creature. The piece combines a modern understanding of water informed by physics with the spiritual idea of water held by the ancient Japanese.
teamLab explains the intention of this work on the exhibition website:
If one, drawn in by this universe of particles, feels as though they are immersed in the work and does not feel a barrier between them and the waterfall – such as one might feel when looking at a video recording of an actual waterfall – or maybe even feel one’s soul fusing with the lines of water/living energy, then perhaps they will be able to comprehend the connection between the ancient Japanese’s system of perception and their attitudes and behavior towards the world.
Ultra Subjective Space, which runs until August 15, immerses viewers in the ancient world of the Japanese with a series of exquisitely detailed animations. It turns traditional paintings and mythology into movement and light, using futuristic technology to bring visitors closer to the past.

Featured on Art in America, Aug 1, 2014

teamLab at Pace, through Aug. 15 508 and 510 W. 25th St.

Spectacle is alive and well and garnering new fans in the digital age. That’s the clear message of this show of multi-screen videos by Japan’s teamLab, founded in 2001 by artist/designer Toshiyuki Inoko. The group, which is both large (with up to 300 come-and-go contributors) and diverse (attracting artists, mathematicians, engineers, programmers, etc.), focuses in this exhibition, titled “Ultra Subjective Space,” on the Eastern method of non-perspectival composition. Visual references—some explicit, some generalized—range from 17th-century Japanese art to the deep sea to the cosmos. Everything is colorful and everything is in motion, suggesting a world of pure perceptual vitality. Viewers who can’t get enough can look forward to another major installation this fall at New York’s Japan Society.