Team Lab – Transcending Boundaries – a pop-up immersive exhibition

Last week I attended Team Lab’s brand new pop up exhibition ‘Transcending Boundaries’ at London’s Pace Gallery, an exhibit dedicated to the exploration of digital art. The free gallery, hosted in Burlington Gardens, featured three rooms of immersive installations debuting pioneering new works from cutting edge digital artists that sought to involve its viewer through interactivity and explore the role of technology.

Team Lab (founded 2001, Tokyo, by Toshiyuki Inoko) is an interdisciplinary group whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, technology, design, and the natural world.

As someone who is pretty infatuated with the idea of an immersive experience particularly through the incorporation of technology and its capacity to further enhance the consumer experience, I decided that I would go and check it out. The exhibition allowed for a 20 minute allocated time slot which was the amount of time needed to see the entire collection. I anticipated from this that it would be small….I was right! When we arrived and went into the exhibit, we went straight to the furthest point following a recommendation from a staff member who said that we should start at the end and work backwards.

The first exhibition was in a dark room. As we approached we were greeted by a young girl who handed us each a white shoal to wear inside and instructed that we had just 5 minutes enjoy the piece. (Pressure) This particular piece was called ‘Flowers bloom on people’. I have to say, this installation was pretty cool. The space starts out completely pitch black, but as people come into the space, flowers begin to blossom and spread around their feet and when those flowers come into contact with another person, they connect. All the while the viewer remained still, flowers are born and bloom, covering them in their entirety (the shoal) in flowers. Once the viewer moves, the flowers die and decay. (Pretty cool right?)

What’s particularly interesting about this installation, is that it is neither a pre-recorded animation or on a loop, the work is rendered in real time by a computer programme where the artwork continually changes and will never reoccur. This means it will always be different.

Flowers bloom on people
Flowers Bloom on people
Flowers bloom on people

5 minutes were up and we were hurried along to the next part of the exhibit. We stepped into a small dark room where we were greeted by a long screen on one wall with what looked like animated waves. The waves were made from hundreds of tiny particles that when programmed moved in a wave like motion. Admittedly a little less interesting, the room, aside from the screens was empty, so we quickly moved on and head to the final, and most anticipated room of the experience.

Waves from particles

The final room consisted of a total of 5 pieces that together created something visually breath-taking. The first piece you notice in the room is the large waterfall falling down the back wall and flowing across the floor. The longer you remaind in the room, the more you were able to see. Flowers would bloom and grow within the water, representing changes in seasons and the patterns would also change. In addition to this, the technology was able to recognise movement and have the water flow and move around an object. (If you stood still, the water would flow around you rather than under you) SO COOL!

Transcending Boundaries
Transcending Boundaries
Waterfall moves around my hand
Flowers blooming on the waterfall
Changing flowers
Transcending Boundaries

Towards the back of the room and moving around the space, were projection mapped butterflies. Butterflies of all different colours that moved and acted like real butterflies. It was particularly beautiful.

Back wall with butterflies projected
A very blurry motion shot of the butterflies

The whole piece was complimented with different sounds as a way of appealing to other senses. I only wish we had more time in this room. Unfortunately, due to the very limited time allowed and the desperation to really encapture the waterfall and the butterflies, I unfortunately didn’t manage to look at the other pieces hung in the room. (OOPS)

Overall, a fantastic concept that explores the transition between art and technology! I just wish it wasn’t so time constraint! 

You can find out more about the gallery via the link below.