TeamLabs – Tokyo

I recently took a trip of a lifetime.  I can’t explain how much I have wanted to go to Japan from a very early age, and finally I managed to get there.  Needless to say I want to return immediately and the next trip is already in the planning.  As you can imagine, I researched heavily the things I wanted to see before going, as I had limited time in the areas that I was in, and I wanted the trip to incorporate a lot, much of that included artwork and culture.  Everything in this fascinating country has a basis in art, beauty, culture and etiquette, and honestly I could just harp on about that alone, but one of the most amazing things I experienced was the TeamLab borderless art exhibit.  All photos within this article have been taken by me and I hope that they give you some feeling of how astounding this is.

I found out about this by watching “Queer Eye in Japan”.  One of the makeover people took his wife there as the reveal at the end, and I was mesmerised by the few glimpses that I saw during the programme, this obviously meant I had to find it and experience it for myself.  If you are planning on going to Tokyo and visiting this, be aware that there are 2 TeamLab sites so do be sure to head to the one in Pallet town and it is directly under the ferris wheel.

Entry is 3200 yen (about £21) and this is a good 5-6 hour visit so do be prepared to lose most of a day to this incredible exhibition.  You can buy tickets on the door via self service so it is all very easy.

As you enter, it doesn’t actually look very impressive, and if I hadn’t been aware of what was inside I would have wondered why I had chosen to go, as the entrance is fairly drab grey carpets and a couple of terminals to pay at, with entrance stalls and a few people ready to check your tickets.  On the wall it just says “Wander, Explore and Discover”.

There is a short video message as you go in, which explains that there are no maps, as the intention is that you go in and get lost in the world that they have created, there are a few warnings about uneven floor (god knows why they couldn’t flatten the floor, but be aware, they aren’t fibbing about it).

Any misgivings quickly dissipate when you actually enter the space.  This exhibition is huge and has multiple rooms, some are quite hard to find, so really do take the time and explore every nook and cranny of space.  There are rooms which range from floating flowers, to waterfalls, to abstract light movement to an activity centre.

All the the art is made from projections.  The use of light and colour is absolutely phenomenal and transports you into a world where you are incorporated into this ever changing landscape of the art.

I wish I could write about every room, but that would make this an incredibly long article, so I am going to explain about three of them.  The first was my absolute favourite, and is the feature picture of this article.   Thousands of stips of LED lights have been hung in a room with a mirrored floor.  The lights move in sequence so that it feels like rainfall.  As you move around the room it can become quite disorientating, and the sequences change in rhythm and colour.  The mirrored floor gives the feel of eternity, a never ending flow where there is no beginning or end.  If you manage to walk all the way around the room, you will find a control panel, where you can select what motion the lights should go through.  This is such a simple idea, but so beautifully presented.

The next was a room filled with rolling waves.  This almost felt that I was in “The Great Wave” woodblock print as the wave are tumultuous and are matched with the equivalent sound effects.

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In the middle of this room, bean bags have been placed so that you can sit on the floor and take in the sheer power of the ocean, as it has been so beautifully captured.

My final favourite (despite the whole experience being one of the most exciting things I have done) is a room filled with glass lanterns.  They are at varying heights and once again the floor is mirrored, as though you are walk through giant fireflies.  The colours of this room change as well, but there is no user control on the colour change.  Be aware that there will be a queue for this room as they only let around 20 people in at a time, but you can view as you queue, which really allows you to get the feeling of the colour changes.

There is an adventure forest in one area where you can go on a solar system trampoline and learn how stars and planets are created and die, as well as asteral whales and weird creations run around the floor that you can stamp on to create colour splats.  In this area as well you will find large lit eggs that you can walk through.

You can also experience a tea room in this area (I didn’t – I don’t like tea), but it looks to be something incredible special.

Some rooms you will have to queue for, and I did miss one as the queue was over an hour’s wait, which I wouldn’t have managed in the time that the exhibition stated open, so if you do plan to visit really do give it the time it deserves.

Exhibition content changes with seasons, so do not expect to have the same experience that I had when I went.  One room for me was dedicated to the falling leaves of autumn and the flight of the firefly.

I have included some more photos so that you can get a feel for this extraordinary exhibit.

Nature is the key theme to this exhibit and I think that they have manage to merge the digital age with timeless beauty so well.  The

More information can be found here

Have you been to the TeamLabs exhibition?  Why not tell me what you thought in the comments?  Like this post? Why not share it.

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