Digital Media Concepts/teamLab
teamLab(チームラボ株式会社 f. March, 2001) is a Japanese digital art collective founded by Toshiyuki Inoko with 4 of his college friends. teamLab now consists of more than 400 members coming from various fields of practice, including art, technology, software engineering, CG animation, [graphic design]] and architecture; therefore, they refer themselves as "ultra-technologists". Their main goal is to explore the balance between art, technology, human, design and nature through digital art. By combining art and technology, teamLab seeks to create digital art installations that are immersive, interactive, futuristic and aesthetically appealing.
History[edit | edit source]
In 2001 when Toshiyuki Inoko graduated from the University of Tokyo as an Engineering major, he found teamLab with 4 of his friends. In the beginning, their works were not recognized by the art community and they were not considered as art collective by many people in the Japanese art world. Therefore, they had to devote most of their time and effort to create commercial software and websites to financially support their art-making. The situation started to get better in 2011 when a well-known artist Takashi Murakami invited teamLab to display an artwork at his Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Taipei. Since then, their artworks started to gradually gain recognization and they have gained opportunities to display their artworks in cosmopolitan cities such as Singapore. Since 2014, teamLab’s works are represented by New York PACE Gallery, which helps to promote teamLab’s works. In 2015, teamLab organized its first individual exhibition titled teamLab Dance! Art Exhibition and Learn and Play! teamLab Future Park in Japan and it was a great success. Since then, teamLab starts to hold exhibitions internationally: London, France, United States, U.A.E., Singapore, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and the list goes on.
Concepts[edit | edit source]
Digital Art[edit | edit source]
teamLab believes that the development of digital technology has allowed more possibilities for art. Art can now be created with non-material things such as sensor, light, and sound. By utilizing digital technology, the boundary between viewers and artworks can be erased. The viewers can thus interact with the artworks and become part of the artwork.
Ultrasubjective Space[edit | edit source]
Unlike traditional Western art which normally uses a one-point perspective to depict objects and scenes, traditional Japanese art depicts things from multiple points of view. teamLab uses the phrase Ultrasubjective Space to describe the approach to view the world from multiple viewpoints. In real life, it is unnatural to see the world from a fixed viewpoint because the world we see is constantly changing according to our movement and behavior. Therefore, teamLab believes that people are separating themselves from the world when they are seeing the world from a one-point perspective. By incorporating the idea of Ultrasubjective Space into their artworks, teamLab inspires viewers to see the world in a different way and makes viewers realize that they are part of the world they are observing.
Co-Creation[edit | edit source]
Throughout history, people have used their creativity together to turn the world into a better place. However, mainstream education emphasizes on finding only one correct answer, discouraging creative thinking. Furthermore, the increased use of smartphones has isolated people from each other. teamLab strives to use digital art to encourage co-creation, which is, to create things together.
Works[edit | edit source]
Featured Works[edit | edit source]
Light Ball Orchestra,2013[edit | edit source]
With many glowing and colorful balls rolling on the floor and hanging from the wall, the darkened room is turned into an orchestral space. The ball will play sounds and change color when someone pats on it. By playing with the balls, people are able to create their own music.
Sketch Aquarium,2013[edit | edit source]
Sketch Aquarium is an interactive installation that features a giant, fanciful virtual aquarium. Viewers are offered a piece of paper and color pencils to design and color a sea creature using their own imagination. Their works will be scanned and they will thus be able to see their creations coming to life. This installation is created mainly for children, aiming to encourage the spirit of co-creation which is lacking in Japanese education.
Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together,2015[edit | edit source]
The installation features the life cycle of flowers. The flowers will bloom and decay in response to viewers’ interactions. In one hour, the viewers are able to see how the flowers change their states continuously. The artwork conveys the idea that humans should not try to control the nature, but to live with nature in harmony.
Forest of Resonating Lamps, 2016[edit | edit source]
The artwork is composed of thousands of lamps dangling from a ceiling in a mirror room inspired by Yayoi Kusama. The lamp shades are made of Venetian glass, which is also known as Murano glass. Equipped with sensors, the lamp shines brightly and emits a color when a person approaches it. The color emitted by the lamp will then spread out to other lamps nearby continuously until all lamps have come across their turn to shine. Mathematical approaches are used to arrange the lamps in order to make the path of the light seems smooth yet unpredictable. Reflected by the mirror walls, the room seems to be infinite, making viewers feel like they are wandering in a whimsical forest of glowing flowers.
Story of the Forest,2016[edit | edit source]
Story of the Forest is an immersive installation created for the National Museum of Singapore. The installation brings 69 drawings from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings to life by turning them into 3D animations. The viewers would find themselves in an interactive forest where the season and weather keep changing. To add to the experience, viewers can download the app Story of the Forest from Google Play or App Store to learn more about species featured in the animations.
Exhibitions[edit | edit source]
[Title; Location; Date of Opening (MM-DD-YYYY)]
What a Loving and Beautiful World; ArtScience Museum, Singapore; 03-04-2016 to 03-27-2016
Story of the Forest; National Museum of Singapore, Singapore; 10-10-2017 to 10-10-2037
Gold Waves, Osaka; Osaka University of Arts, Osaka, Japan; 05-18-2018-Permanent
Frieze Los Angeles 2019; Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles,US; 02-14-2019 to 02-17-2019
Universal of Water Particles in the Tank; TANK Shanghai, Shanghai; 05-23-2019 to 08-31-2019
Impermanent Flowers Floating in a Continuous Sea; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa,Japan,08-09-2019 to 09-01-2019
A Forest Where Gods Live, Ruins and Heritage; Takeo Hot Springs, Kyushu, Japan; 07-25-2019 to 11-04-2019
teamLab Bordless Shanghai; Shanghai, China; 11-05-2019-Permanent
Digitalized Kochi Castle; Kochi Castle, Kochi, Japan; 11-08-2019 to 01-13-2020
Awards and Achievements[edit | edit source]
In 2018, teamLab launched the Mori Building Digital Art Museum:teamLab Borderless, which is the first museum dedicated to digit art in the world. The museum is now one of the leading museums in Japan and welcomes about 2.3 million visitors from all over the world. A survey conducted by the museum has revealed that about half of its oversea visitors come to Japan mainly for visiting the museum.  teamLab Borderless was one of the nominees for the Leading Culture Destinations Awards in the same year it was launched. It receives Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in the following year. 
External Links[edit | edit source]
teamLab Borderless Tokyo Official Site
teamLab YouTube Channel
Toshiyuki Inoko: ‘We are exploring the ways in which the relationships between people can be changed through art’
Toshiyuki Inoko Wikipedia Page(in Japanese)
teamLab Wikipedia Page(in Japanese)
References[edit | edit source]
- Digital Art: teamLab / チームラボ. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2019, from https://www.teamlab.art/concept/expandart/.
- Ultrasubjective Space: teamLab / チームラボ. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from https://www.teamlab.art/concept/ultrasubjective-space/.
- Collaborative Creation: Co-Creation: teamLab / チームラボ. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from https://www.teamlab.art/concept/co-creation/.
- "MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless" to Celebrate First Anniversary Welcomed 2.3 million visitors from more than 160 countries: Press Releases｜Press Room: Mori Building Co., Ltd. - MORI Building. (2019, June 20). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from https://www.mori.co.jp/en/company/press/release/2019/06/20190620100000003902.html.
- Wilson, A. (2018, September 28). The world's best cultural attractions 2018 – in pictures. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/travel/gallery/2018/sep/28/worlds-leading-cultural-destination-awards-winners-2018-in-pictures.
- Thea Awards 2019. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.teaconnect.org/Thea-Awards/Past-Awards/index.cfm?id=7907&redirect=y.