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Spatial Calligraphy on the Rock Wall of Five Hundred Arhats, Continuous Life

teamLab, 2017, Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

Spatial Calligraphy on the Rock Wall of Five Hundred Arhats, Continuous Life

teamLab, 2017, Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

About 1,300 years ago, the famous monk Gyoki, who would later create the Great Buddha in Nara, entered the caves of Mifuneyama and engraved Five Hundred Arhats into three caves, and carved the Three Buddhas in the far rock of the third cave. Also at that time, he carved a hole next to the Three Buddhas, into which water has collected over 1,300 years without ever going dry. This water has long been used as medicinal water.


The calligraphy moves back and forth between the cave and the rock wall outside. The calligraphy is drawn across the surface of a series of three-dimensional caves and walls, where it rotates in three dimensions.

The light calligraphy is black, meaning there is no light, thus making it indistinguishable from the darkness of the cave. The darkness of the calligraphy and the cave become one, and the spatial calligraphy is continuously written on the rock wall.


Spatial calligraphy is calligraphy drawn in space, a form of calligraphy that teamLab has been exploring since it was founded. The artwork reconstructs calligraphy in three dimensional space to express the depth, speed and power of the brush stroke, and that calligraphy is then flattened using the logical structure teamLab calls Ultrasubjective Space. The calligraphy shifts between two and three dimensions.