Since 2001, teamLab has enchanted us. Their method of wooing has been far from conventional. Instead of flowers and chocolates, we have been drawn in through impressive innovative digital art installations.
teamLab is a Japanese international art collective. Forget painters and sculptors. This group consists of CG animators, mathematicians, and programmers. The result? Exhibitions that bridge the gap between art, science, technology, and the natural world.
If you are reading this, you have likely visited teamLab Tokyo before. But teamLab goes beyond Japan. They have a global presence, with art displays in over ten countries. To really know and understand them, you must venture beyond your local exhibit.
However, as travel plans have currently been put on pause, we will cut you some slack. Instead, we will show you a reel of our teamLab highlights, specially designed for maximum jealousy.
We will begin in Japan, swiftly move onto Singapore and end this fabulous journey in London.
teamLab Tokyo – Borderless
It is impossible to discuss teamLab without mentioning Borderless. Established in 2018, it is one of two teamLab Tokyo exhibits. Borderless is unique as it is the world’s first permanent digital art museum. Using 520 computers and 470 projectors, Borderless creates an interactive art experience like no other.
The museum has no set path. There is no map provided; it is entirely up to you to navigate. Although this is incredibly freeing, beware it is also easy to skip out parts of the exhibit. No two rooms are the same, and each area continually changes. When I first visited the main atrium, it was decorated with brightly coloured flowers in full bloom. By the end of my visit, the atrium had experienced a change of season, bringing with it a whole new arrangement of flowers.
- Go early and visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
- Do not wear a skirt or dress as some rooms have mirrored floors, and that is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Wear something you can run and jump around in, as there are many interactive activities.
teamLab Singapore – Story of the Forest
Nestled in the National Museum of Singapore is the Story of the Forest.
This teamLab exhibit transforms 69 drawings from the iconic William Farquhar Collection of National History into an immersive art display.
Singapore’s colonial past is the focal point of the exhibit, illustrated through an animated landscape, populated with creatures from the Malay Peninsula in the 19th century. There is even a mobile app to support the drawings. The app provides insights into the history of these fascinating ancient creatures.
The green landscape follows you around the exhibit, as you journey down a winding walkway. When you reach the end of the walkway, the display disappears, and you find yourself in the middle of a lifelike animated forest.
Once we arrived in the forest, we decided to lay down on the ground to get a better view of the ceiling. A collection of illustrated flowers had been projected onto the roof. We spent a peaceful hour lying down, watching the flower petals fall around us.
teamLab London – What a Loving, and Beautiful World
In 2019, the Barbican in London hosted ‘AI: More Than Human’. This exhibit showcased creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence. Luckily for me, there was also a tiny teamLab feature hidden in the depths of this exhibit.
The exhibit was by no means a teamLab Tokyo. But despite its size, the installation was not underwhelming. The walls featured typical teamLab elements, prioritising the natural world through including butterflies, leaves, and flowers. Alongside these elements were Chinese characters which, when touched, would transform into the words they embodied.
I touched one of these characters, and a flock of birds was released, a series of flowers burst into life, and fireworks even appeared.
Subtle as always, teamLab.