TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES | TEAMLAB'S DIGITAL DREAMLAND

Operating from a distinctly Japanese sense of spatial recognition, teamLab are a Tokyo based collective of ultra-technologists, who navigate the realms of art, technology, design and nature through entrancing visual installations.

Transcending Boundaries is teamLab’s latest interactive exhibition, held at Pace Gallery in Mayfair, London. The exhibition spans over three rooms and showcases an exploration of digital technology within the art sphere, playing with the idea that digital technology allows art to transcend physical and conceptual boundaries and break free of their frames.

Universe of Water Particles © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Universe of Water Particles © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


Using the latest computer modelling techniques, teamLab presents a series of their works including six never-seen-before installations. The largest room in the exhibition is home to Universe of Water Particles (2017), a virtual waterfall created using teamLab’s concept of ultra-subjective space. This computer generated water installation depicts hundreds and thousands of water particles flowing through the exhibition space.

Transcending Boundaries © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Transcending Boundaries © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


In traditional Japanese paintings, bodies of water were expressed using a series of lines to give the impression of movement and life. This form of expression gives way to the manner in which Japanese people traditionally sensed life in rivers and oceans. Fusing the objective world of today with the subjective world of people from a bygone Japanese era, Universe of Water Particles reproduces the physical phenomena, allowing the viewer to become fully immersed in the waterfall and experience a connection to the way Japanese people once perceived nature.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Ephemeral Life © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Ephemeral Life © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


The first room is also home to Flutter of Butterflies Beyond BordersEphemeral Life, an interactive installation which depicts butterflies flying through the exhibition room, seamlessly entering the space of other installations. The work is influenced by the behaviour of the viewers and the state of the other works. If a butterfly is touched, it looses its life.


Dark Waves © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Dark Waves © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


The second room showcases Dark Waves (2016), a simulation of the movement of waves based on the behaviour of water particles in this state. The movement is projected in a three-dimensional space creating an immersive experience and a surreal proximity with the natural power of the force. The experience allows the viewer to transcend the boundary which separates themselves from the installation, leaving the intrinsic connection we have with both art and nature to prevail.

If we regard ourselves as a part of nature, and consider nature not just as something to be observed, we might join pre-modern people in perceiving rivers and oceans as living entities. This is a way of seeing the world that lures us in and allows us to feel that there is no boundary between ourselves and nature.
— teamlab
Flowers Bloom on People © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Flowers Bloom on People © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


The last room enables the viewer to transcend one final boundary, by eliminating the separation between self and art. In the final installation, Flowers Bloom on People (2017) the body becomes the canvas. Activated by the viewer’s presence, the darkened room is interjected by blossoming flowers which are projected onto the body. A cycle of growth and decay commences in a state of continuous change, standing still prompts the flowers to bud, grow and blossom, while any movement causes them to wither and fade away. This cycle repeats itself in perpetuity.


Flowers Bloom on People © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Flowers Bloom on People © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


Neither a pre-recorded animation nor on loop, the work is rendered in real time by a computer program. The interaction between the viewer and the installation causes continuous change in the artwork; previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur.
— teamlab
Transcending Boundaries © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.

Transcending Boundaries © 2017 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved.


Transcending Boundaries is a digital wonderland which expresses teamLab’s commitment to the advancement of digital art. It is exemplary of the collective’s unique ability to capture and nurture creativity and curiosity through their mesmerising blend of technology and art.

We are honoured to share some of our most recently created artworks and hope the universality of their themes—creativity, play, exploration, immersion, life, and fluidity—will seep into the broader conscience.

— Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab founder.

With special thanks to Pace Gallery for their hospitality and press materials.


This article was written for HausMag. You can see my full collection of articles for this publication here.