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Exclusive interview with teamLab: Reflect on Beauty (4)

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

teamLab is an international art collective with members from around the world. Mung7Art speaks with teamLab on reflecting on beauty. How does teamLab create “beauty”?

We want people to be involved with the world. As much as possible, we want to re-think the boundary between the world and oneself. Living in the city, you feel as if there is a border between yourself and the world, but the world really is meant for us to be involved with.

It may be just a bit, but the world is something that changes due to your existence. We believe that there is a borderless, continuous relationship between us and the world.

We also relax and derive inspiration from places formed by the accumulation of the interaction and activities between people and nature: places that transcend our own existence.

For example, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces are a place formed by the accumulation of the interaction and activities between people and nature over the course of a time indefinitely longer than our own existence, much like the forest and stones of Mifuneyama Rakuen.

The shapes of the terraces themselves embody the continuity and borderlessness of the relationship between humans and nature. Perhaps if we spend hundreds of years in these places, we can comprehend this continuity of time and life. But that is impossible for most people.

So we create exhibitions like teamLab Borderless or teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live in the nature of Mifuneyama Rakuen, where we can try to condense hundreds of years of existence, so by being in the museum for an hour, one can begin to grasp the continuity of life.

Our intention is to change people’s standard of beauty, even if it requires a great deal of time.

At some point in history, humans saw flowers and thought “beautiful.” But we do not really understand this phenomena of “beauty.” Evolution explains some instances: it is natural that we would perceive other humans to be “beautiful” from a reproductive standpoint.

But this does not explain why humans have found flowers “beautiful.” In the time before civilization, people did not see beauty in something as insignificant as flowers.

In other words, we humans attributed the same idea of “beautiful” to targets for reproduction as well as to unrelated things like flowers. In theory, we should have used different words for these two completely unrelated concepts, so the fact that we conceive of them in the same way is quite miraculous. We believe that art is an act of modern people creating their own flowers and expanding the notion of “beautiful” with those flowers, just in the way that ancient human beings saw flowers as “beautiful” and expanded the idea of beauty.

We do not instantly understand the reasons or meaning behind this expansion. However, through these positive expansions of “beautiful,” 30 or 50 years later, people may behave differently in a way that we cannot understand with today’s limited knowledge, allowing humanity to continue to grow and thrive.

We hope to change people’s standard of beauty which, as a consequence, may change people’s behavior little by little unconsciously in 10 or 50 years.

Photo Credits: teamLab, Exhibition view of teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live, 2019, Kyushu © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery &

Hani Terraces Administration of Honghe Prefecture

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