Expanding Our Presence Within The Universe
teamLab's Takashi Kudo On The Digital Art Collective's Latest Immersive Works
The undefinable Japanese digital art collective teamLab creates works that can only be best described as democratic and otherworldly. Individuals of all ages, backgrounds and cultures can revel in their immersive works, that are typically both physically and visually all-encompassing within their created worlds. Although artificial, their artworks reflect the beauty of nature and aim to inspire the wonder and expanse of the universe.
Set to open in 2024, teamLab Borderless — described as a world of artworks without boundaries, a museum without a map created by art collective teamLab — will move from its current location in Odaiba Tokyo, to a new permanent location in the newly-built Azabudai Hills designed by British architect Thomas Heatherwick with an expansive, socially-focussed topology.
During a preview view of the first two unveiled artworks within the museum, Champ Tokyo Editor Joanna Kawecki caught up with teamLab’s Global Brand Director Takashi Kudo just moments before he was set to depart for Abu Dhabi. Know for their 500+ members due to the complexities of each work, Kudo heavily emphasized the egalitarian approach of their art collective — ‘…there are no titles’ — noting the importance of teamwork in the success of each artwork. ‘Our artworks are created by mathematicians, programmers, software designers to hardware teams. Each is as important as the other. That is why we call it a team. We place more focus on our output rather than who created it.’
Kudo adds, ‘In the digital eras, if you create something using materials called digital or technologies, then we need to create them by teams. You cannot create them by individual persons. This is similar to movies, such as Star Wars by Lucasfilm or Frozen by Pixar. We need to create more of these no boundaries teams. Especially when we are creating something that has no precedent.’
At teamLab Borderless, each space creates a mini multi-universe, expressing varying dimensions as convergences of light and colour choreographed by algorithms or activated by human movement. ‘Each artwork is usually inspired by beautiful phenomena that we have seen,’ Kudo says. Yet from the surface, it’s impossible to understand the depth of their work incorporating both the human condition and artificial intelligence. He adds, ‘For us, AI is just another tool or material. Our software cannot define what is human and what is not. So, we bring in data and utilise AI to create a better experience.’
Through each art piece, teamLab aims to express the importance of a collective ethos and the power of unity. Just as their team-driven approach achieves unprecedented works, they believe that so too can human existence when viewing it as continuous within the entire universe. ‘There are no boundaries between a human and the earth, and no boundaries between the earth and the universe. Everything is all connected.’ Kudo says, ‘If you feel you are one part of nature and one part of the universe, then you may reconsider your actions. We should think that we are one part of this continuous existence within both past and future generations.’
teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM
Azabudai Hills, Garden Plaza B B1F,
1-2-4 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Opening Early February 2024
Text: Joanna Kawecki
Image credit: © teamLab, Champ Creative