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Exclusive interview: How teamLab transforms perceptions of art (2)

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

teamLab is an international art collective with members from around the world.

Mung7Art highly appreciates teamLab taking the time to elaborate on their transformative art mission.

Self and the world

After 19 years since forming the collective, how do you think you have shaped and influenced the art world, the way people appreciate art, the way people come together to work from different cities in the world?

teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art. In order to understand the world around them, people separate it into independent entities with perceived boundaries between them.

teamLab seeks to transcend these boundaries in our perception of the world, of the relationship between the self and the world, and of the continuity of time. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life.

Digital technology

teamLab believes digital technology can expand art and that art made in this way can create new relationships between people.

Digital technology enables complex detail and fast track freedom for change. Before people started accepting digital technology, information and artistic expression had to be presented in some physical form.

Creative expression has existed through static media for most of human history, often using physical objects such as canvas and paint. The advent of digital technology allows human expression to become free from these physical constraints, enabling it to exist independently and evolve freely.

No longer limited to physical media, digital technology has made it possible for artworks to expand physically. Since art created using digital technology can easily expand, it provides us with a greater degree of autonomy within the space. We are now able to manipulate and use much larger spaces, and viewers are able to experience the artwork more directly.

The characteristics of digital technology allow artworks to express the capacity for change much more freely. Viewers, in interaction with their environment, can instigate perpetual change in an artwork. Through an interactive relationship between the viewers and the artwork, viewers become an intrinsic part of that artwork.

Interactive artwork

Expanding Art:

In interactive artworks that teamLab creates, because viewers’ movement or even their presence transforms the artwork, the boundaries between the work and viewers become ambiguous. Viewers become a part of the work.

This changes the relationship between an artwork and an individual into a relationship between an artwork and a group of individuals.

A viewer who was present 5 minutes ago, or how the person next to you is behaving now, suddenly becomes important. Unlike a viewer who stands in front of a conventional painting, a viewer immersed in an interactive artwork becomes more aware of other people’s presence.

Unlike a physical painting on a canvas, the non-material digital technology can liberate art from the physical. Furthermore because of its ability to transform itself freely, it can transcend boundaries.

Interactive digital art can expand the beautiful. During the interaction, you and others’ presence becomes an element to transform an artwork, hence creating a new relationship between people within the same space. By applying such art to the unique environment, we wanted to create a space where you can feel that you are connected with other people in the world.

Person next to you

One characteristic of interactive art is that the existence and behavior of the viewer can influence the art, thereby blurring the line between art and viewer. In other words, the artistic work is made up of both the art and the viewer.

One consequence of this is a shift in the relationship between art and viewer as well as between the individual viewer and the group. Factors such as whether there were any viewers that saw the work five minutes before you did, or what the viewer next to you is currently doing, suddenly become important.

At a minimum, our interactive installations call more attention to the actions of the viewers around you than would a traditional painting. The result is that the art gains the ability to influence the relationships between the viewers standing in front of it. And if the effect of another person’s presence on the art is beautiful, it is possible that that person’s presence itself will be seen as beautiful.

The paradigm in traditional art has been to treat the existence of other viewers as a nuisance. If you are at an exhibition with no other viewers for example, you are likely to think of yourself as extremely lucky.

In the exhibitions put together by teamLab, we encourage people to think of the presence of other viewers as a positive factor.

Photo Credits: teamLab, Exhibition view ofteamLab Planets TOKYO, 2018, Tokyo © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery &


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