teamlab Orchestrates World’s First Digital Museum

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Those mad geniuses at teamlab, the digital art collective founded by a group of friends from the University of Tokyo in 2001, are at it again. We’ve brought you stories about how this prodigious group has caught attention with their installations in the past (see Teamlab Future Park at Mall of Georgia  and Zen and the Art of Immersive Dining). Now, teamlab actually has its very own space in Odaiba – a popular shopping and entertainment district set on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Thanks to collaboration with MORI Art Museum, this space is in fact the world’s first digital museum, and it’s serving as a permanent canvas for teamlab’s experiential and immersive world of creative technology blending.

Using a complex configuration of Epson projectors, artworks that have previously graced galleries and other high-profile venues throughout the globe are displayed together here, without partitions of any kind so that each interactive piece bleeds together to form an entirely new environment. Hence, the theme and keyword that ties it all together is Borderless, which is a particularly relevant, powerful and thought-provoking word for American audiences considering the current immigration situation in the U.S.

As teamlab Communications Director Takashi Kudo said, “It’s borderless and transcends boundaries. If you make it on canvas, there are boundaries; if you make a sculpture, you can’t change it. But for digital (art), you can always change, because the digital world doesn’t really exist.”

As the video above illustrates, there are a few self-contained rooms in the MORI building’s new showcase, but there is no official signage directing visitors one way or the other. On the contrary, teamlab prefers that guests more or less forget themselves when wandering through this 100,000-square-foot space, effectively getting lost in the installation in order to have the full experience. Also, unlike most other “museums” in the world, Borderless features an upper floor dubbed “Future Park,” in which kids are actually encouraged to touch, climb, and interact with the exhibits.

Add a soothing beverage at En Tea House on the top floor and make a whole day of it. Did we mention that there are even projections aimed at the cups of tea, and virtual flower petal coasters that are brushed away when someone puts their drink down? And if that’s not enough, one can look forward to repeat visits because the digital scenery is linked to the seasons in real time and will never be the same twice. This is truly a holistic digital experience and one worthy of our Installation of the Week moniker.  

The exhibit officially debuted on June 21, 2018, and the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Before you visit, however, check ticket availability as it’s not unusual for tickets to sell out on any given day.  

About Author

Jason is a screenwriter, filmmaker, multimedia journalist and editor of DigitalSignageConnection.com. Since graduating from the University of South Florida with a journalism degree, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, Gogobot.com and TBO.com. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee explored the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees and the various environmental/economic repercussions. The film became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival. In 2015, he became editor of Digital Signage Expo’s partner site and has since worked his way up to Digital Content Manager for the Atlanta-based parent company, Exponation.

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