The Mori Building Digital Art Museum recently opened in Tokio, being a digital-only museum, with the goal of creating a new relationship between people and art. Ken from teamLab answered a few questions about the company and the new museum.
What is teamLab and what’s their main goals?
We put the direct answer on our profile as below:
teamLab (f. 2001) is an art collective, an interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists 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.
teamLab aims to explore a new relationship between humans and nature, and between oneself and the world through art. Digital technology has allowed art to liberate itself from the physical and transcend boundaries. teamLab sees no boundary between humans and nature, and between oneself and the world; one is in the other and the other in one. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life.
How did the idea for The Mori Building Digital Art Museum come about?
Sometimes we have to create an artwork when we cannot clearly see the artwork’s goal. Our artworks are created by a team of hands-on experts through a continuous process of creation and thinking. Although the large concepts are always defined from the start, the project goal tends to remain unclear, so what we need to do is for the whole team to create and think as we go along. teamLab’s organizational structure seems flat at a first glance, but it is also extremely multidimensional, with an underlying layer that is unclear and undecided.
The big concepts are always defined from the start, and the project goal and technical feasibility also go hand in hand. The goal of the artwork becomes more clearly defined as the team progresses its work.
What are the highlights of the museum?
I think that the highlights of the exhibition is the experience inside the museum. The museum can be described as… Become lost, wander, explore and discover one world without borders. These experience itself is the highlight.
How does the presence of other visitors enhance the experience rather than detract from it?
People understand and recognize the world through their bodies, moving freely and forming connections and relationships with others. As a consequence the body has its own sense of time. In the mind, the boundaries between different thoughts are ambiguous, causing them to influence and sometimes intermingle with each other.
teamLab Borderless is a group of artworks that form one borderless world. Artworks move out of the rooms freely, form connections and relationships with people, communicate with other works, influence and sometimes intermingle with each other, and have the same concept of time as the human body.
People lose themselves in the artwork world. The borderless works transform according to the presence of people, and as we immerse and meld ourselves into this unified world, we explore a continuity among people, as well as a new relationship that transcends the boundaries between people and the world.
How can visitors interact with the artwork?
It depends on the artwork. In some artwork, you can interact with the artwork by touching the projected object. In other artwork, you can do it via smartphone. In still other work, just being standstill triggers interactions.
How do you imagine the future of museums?
Regarding future plans, this is actually one of our dreams, is to make positive relationships between people living in the city. This applies not only to art. Even in modern cities, the presence of others might be considered uncomfortable. We cannot understand or control others, so their existence around us is something that is simply tolerated. This is because the city does not change based on your existence or that of others. If cities were to become more like digital artworks, the presence of other people could become a positive element . In this way, the search for new relationships between people may be able to go beyond art, potentially creating new relationships between cities and individuals, as well as new ways to bring peace among people.