Anyone even remotely tapped into social media will have some awareness of teamLab and its out-of-this-world art displays and installations. Beautiful, all-encompassing and unique, the group’s work is something to be experienced rather than merely seen.
Founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab calls itself an international art collective. It’s an interdisciplinary group of specialists – programmers, artists, engineers, mathematicians, CG animators and architects – whose works explore the convergence of art, technology, design and the natural world through the digital medium.
As a child, Inoko loved science and art. The two disciplines intrigued him and gave him different lenses through which to see the world and the contrast between those two perceptions stuck with him.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
STYLE Edit: Joyce Hong Kong’s latest mind-bending collaboration
“What science did was make the resolution of the world clearer, through study and scientific processes. And what did art do for humans? Actually, art has changed the way we perceive the world,” said Inoko. “That is why I have always been interested in art and science, ever since I was a child.”
This interest stayed with him, and as a major in physics and mathematics at university, Inoko was struck by an epiphany: “Once I entered university, I realised that humans try to understand the phenomena that are happening in the world by dividing things into pieces, by separating things into parts. We keep separating things further and further and further. We try to understand the Earth, so we separate the Earth from the universe.
“We try to understand the Earth itself and the elements in the Earth, so we separate those elements to try to perceive what they are. And then we saw the atom. Because we wanted to understand the atom, we had to break that into molecules. Humans kept separating things; humans kept breaking things down into pieces to perceive the world. But, at the end of the day, that did not help humans to understand what the entire world is, what the entirety of the world is. So I’ve always liked science, but because I was always very much interested in what the world is for humans, my interest has shifted more towards art.”
Opened in June, teamLab SuperNature Macao is the largest non-gaming attraction within the Venetian Macao casino and entertainment complex. How will teamLab operate differently in a permanent space compared to the more usual temporary spaces? Very differently, is the answer. First of all, financially. The amount that can be spent on art differs tremendously between temporary and permanent exhibits.
“Permanent exhibitions allow us to create a space from scratch,”