architect: teamLab

location: Japan

year: 2018

This is the title of the new project by teamLab, an art collective, interdisciplinary group of ultra technologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, design and the natural world. Various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects form teamLab.

photo by teamLab

Continuous Life

The 500,000-square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created 172 years ago in 1845, during the end of the Edo period. Sitting on the borderline of the park is a 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine, which is Japan’s 7th largest. Also in the heart of the garden is another 300-year-old sacred tree. Our forebears turned a portion of this magnificent forest, with Mifuneyama Mountain at the center, into a garden while utilizing the trees of the natural forest. The border between the garden and wild forest is so ambiguous that when wandering through the garden people will enter into the woods and animal trails. Enshrined in the forest is the Inari Daimyojin deity surrounded by a huge natural rock. The cave houses the Five Hundred Arhats and the Three Buddha Figures that are carved into the rock face, believed to have been carved by the great priest Gyoki 1,300 years ago.

photo by teamLab

The forest, rocks, and caves of Mifuneyama Rakuen have formed over millions of years, and for thousands of years people have sought meanings in them. The park that we know today sits on top of this history. It is the ongoing relationship between nature and humans that has made the border between the forest and garden ambiguous, keeping this cultural heritage beautiful and pleasing. Lost in nature, where the boundaries between man-made garden and forest is unclear, we feel like we exist in a continuous, borderless relationship between nature and humans. It is for this reason that teamLab decided to create an exhibition in this vast, labyrinthine space, so that people will become lost and immersed in the exhibition and nature.

photo by teamLab

teamLab is executing an art project called “Digitized Nature” where “Nature Becomes Art.” The concept of the project is that non-material digital art can turn nature into art without harming it. We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives. When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, caves, and the forest that have been formed over the eons, are the shapes of the continuous cycle of life itself. By applying digital art to this unique environment, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of life.

title Continous Life
design lead teamLab
location Mifuneyama Rakuen (Saga, Japan)
date July 19th-October 28, 2018
program digital art installation in nature