When most people think of art and Japan in the same vein, images on the order of Hokusai’s Great Wave of Kanagawa spring to mind. You could tour the traditional art scene in Nippon seemingly forever, enjoying a multitude of museums throughout the metropolis. However, only one is dedicated to interactive digital arts, and that is the Mori Building Digital Art Museum.
The new concept, created by digital art collective teamLab, opened next to the Pallette Town building in Odaiba in January and features 470 projectors shining bright CGI graphics streaming from a data center’s worth of computers, onto reflective surfaces that patrons can interact with in many ways. The Mori Building group has utilized teamLab’s services before; if you’re feeling a bit of deja vu; a stroll around Roppongi Hills or Toranomon Hills should help jog your memory a bit.
The exhibits themselves are interactive and ever-changing suites of light and sound; no two people will experience them in the same way, and that’s a good thing. Whether a virtual bouldering course that alters the light shower as you “climb,” or an incline that allows you (and the kids… especially the kids) to power slide through a virtual pool of fruit and colors, this is a very hands-on affair.
As you move throughout the complex, each exhibit melds into the next, and at times the interactions seemed to follow me. This is not by accident, as the works are designed to integrate and interact both with one another, and the patrons moving in the space. The primary goal of the exhibit is to attempt to unify the digital and biological world and explore those new connections.
While grownups contemplate the deep philosophical ideas behind every piece, the children will be bouncing, running, and crawling the walls while exploring every nook and cranny of the halls. There is even space designed to encourage to sitting down with a cup of tea where virtual flowers will bloom, creating the perfect atmosphere to connect and share the experience with another.
The proximity of the new museum to 2020 Tokyo Olympic venues on Odaiba island isn’t a coincidence, but officials say this is a permanent exhibition and plans for a new installation in the space after the Games are long gone are already underway.
MORI Building Digital Art Museum: EPSON teamLab Borderless
Adult (aged 15 and over)
Child (ages between 4-14)
(Children below age 3 and under are free.)
Purchase tickets and check availability by visiting http://ticket.teamlab.art.
— By Jason L. Gatewood
Images: courtesy teamLab
Exhibition view of MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless 2018, Odaiba, Tokyo