Guide of Azabudai Hills’ teamLab Borderless: Opens on February 9, 2024, sneak peek with Images

Experience True Borderless Art at teamLab Borderless, Tokyo

teamLab Borderless, which moved from the Mori Building Digital Art Museum to Azabudai Hills, will open on February 9. Tickets are now available for purchase online. In addition to previous works, many new photo-worthy pieces have been added. Having had the privilege to experience it in advance, I want to share my experience and personal viewing recommendations.

The main design concept of teamLab Borderless is art creativity without borders, Borderless, making the space akin to a large canvas without any fixed routes or a map of the venue. Instead, it extends from a main hall (Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather) out to various rooms and spaces, entering as if stepping into a dream world and space. There are over 70 pieces, with about a dozen areas for you to explore and discover freely.

I spent about 4 hours in teamLab Borderless, including a 1-hour overview tour. Not only are the works interconnected through various artistic elements, but visitors can also interact with the works to create new pieces, allowing for the exploration of various details with each visit, offering a unique immersive art sensory experience to everyone!

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At the entrance, you can stand at a spot marked by the organizer to take photos with captions that appear to float due to an optical illusion. To the right, there’s a door leading to lockers and umbrella storage. Due to the venue’s vast area, it’s recommended not to carry too much while moving around inside. You can store your luggage in the lockers at the entrance and only carry valuables. There’s a place to have tea inside, so it’s good to have some cash on hand. The restrooms are somewhat hidden, so look for the restroom signs on the walls. Restrooms with resting places to sit are located next to the tea area.

Book Tickets for teamLab Borderless TOKYO, Azabudai Hills

Upgraded teamLab Borderless

After moving to Azabudai Hills, teamLab Borderless has been significantly upgraded. In addition to retaining the original classic digital artworks, many new artworks and designs have been added. The connection between works is tighter than before, and the interactive viewing mode has also been changed.

The Borderless design concept is showcased throughout the venue, breaking away from the traditional space and material-specific creation. Traditional art might be confined to a canvas, a frame, or a single room, allowing the appreciation of only one work at a time. teamLab Borderless introduces different elements such as flowers, butterflies, crows, walking animals and people figures, bubbles, calligraphy, fish, etc., in this collection.

These elements not only interact with visitors but also flow and connect to other works. For example, butterflies and crows seen in one work do not just exist in that single piece but can “fly” to artworks in the corridor or enter the waterfall rock hall. If you reach out to touch them, they might fly away. teamLab Borderless breaks the traditional creation framework, focusing on the concept of “existence” of the elements and changing appearances with time and seasons. Through science and mathematics, it creates a space that is both regular and surreal, enhancing the sense of immersion and making you feel like entering another world, temporarily forgetting the reality.

Interactions and Connections between digital artworks

The butterfly work shown above is an example. Although the canvas is an entire wall featuring a row of screens, the butterflies appear to fly from the wall onto the screens and then out of the screens through precise synchronization. Their rapid movement creates the illusion of being alive.

Another example is the parade of animal characters seen in the connecting space of the corridor, where butterflies from the neighboring work “fly” over, resulting in a mixed effect of the two works. They seem to inhabit this world and interact with each other. If you reach out to touch the animals, they might even turn to look at you!

Canvas Unrestricted by Conventional Wisdom

 A Whole Year per Hour / Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Hour (花と人、コントロールできないけれども共に生きる –)

The artistic space of teamLab Borderless is not limited to rooms but resembles a series of projections interconnected and changing with time. The materials for the displays are not necessarily flat. For instance, the work “Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Hour” encompasses a series of spaces as its canvas.

An Existence Without Center or Boundary (中心も境界もない存在)

The work “An Existence Without Center or Boundary” appears as a wall from afar, but you can reach into it upon closer inspection. It utilizes visual illusions to offer a cross-reality experience.

Light Sculpture

The Light Sculpture work creates an illusion of being in the closest proximity to light, or even within intense light, through illusion. This space is not flat; as the lighting changes, it sometimes appears as if you are in a tunnel, and at other times, you can touch the light in the air. Before entering this space, it’s good to see what changes it might undergo.

Peace Can be Realized Even without Order – Dissolving Light (秩序がなくともピースは成り立つ – 溶け出す光)

The work “Peace Can be Realized Even without Order – Dissolving Light” is a room filled with mist that doesn’t feel wet. The projected images resemble soul-like images, and you can walk through them, with some requiring you to stand back to see their forms. Its canvas is the ethereal existence of mist, breaking the conventional need to create on a fixed form.

Black Waves: Black Waves: Born in the Darkness, Return to the Darkness (闇から生まれ闇に帰る)

The work “Black Waves: Born in the Darkness, Return to the Darkness” features many large cubes in the air, displaying ocean waves or blooming red flowers with time. As people approach, the red flowers bloom and then wither.

Display Methods Unrestricted by Frameworks

Reversible Rotation: Black in the Void (反転無分別:虚空の黒)

Besides animals moving around and butterflies and crows flying, the theme of the work “Reversible Rotation: Black in the Void ” is calligraphy, presented in a 3D style that seems to leap out of the frame, extending from the floor and walls. It merges with the work “Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year per Hour.”

Innovative Presentation Methods for Light Art

The general perception of light involves concepts such as refraction and straight lines. However, in the work “Micro Cosmos, the spheres rotating in fixed orbits” contain light that appears elastic like pudding, with different light variations and interactions depending on the crowd.

Micro Cosmos (マイクロコスモス – ぷるんぷるんの光)

Bubble Universe (実体光、光のシャボン玉、ぷるんぷるんの光、環境によって生み出される光)

The spheres in the new work “Bubble Universe” also have a similar design. Depending on where people stand, the closest bubbles light up and radiate outward. This is calculated through a mathematical formula introduced at the entrance of the work. The dispersion of light, though seeming random, is calculated, similar to a circuit board with fixed paths.

Interaction Between Viewer and Work

Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather (人々のための岩に憑依する滝)

We, the viewers of teamLab Borderless, also participate in creating works through interaction. For example, in the rock area of the waterfall, standing on the rock by the wall causes flowers to bloom in the waterfall around us, and flowers also bloom where we step.

As more people gather in the hall, more flowers bloom in the scene, primarily featuring the waterfall. Touching the flowers on the wall causes the petals to scatter.

We can even directly participate in creation. In the work “Sketch Ocean“, we can choose a marine creature to color, scan our colored work, and add it to the ocean canvas.

Your completed work can not only be taken home as a souvenir but also used to create new souvenirs, such as T-shirts, handkerchiefs, tote bags, and more.

The finished product can be ordered by scanning a QR Code at the Sketch Factory near the teamLab Borderless venue for pickup (for additional fees, refer to the prices indicated at the time of selection).

The staff introducing the work also mentioned that the tuna drawn here could leave this venue and swim to the Shanghai teamLab exhibition, with the other half of the large rock also located in Shanghai. This concept truly embodies borderlessness, breaking all frameworks and offering a fascinating experience!

Sketch Ocean (スケッチオーシャン)

Infinite Crystal World

Another way to participate directly is through the teamLab official APP, where effects and lights in the artwork “Infinite Crystal World” can be selected both via the APP and a small control panel on site.

The staff mentioned that if no one chooses an effect upon entering, the entire venue turns black until someone selects an effect for a work.

People Create Space and Time, at the Confluence of their Spacetime New Space and Time is Born (人が時空を生み、それぞれの時空が交差する場所には新たな時空が生まれる)

The work “People Create Space and Time, at the Confluence of their Spacetime New Space and Time is Born” features a room where the walls appear to be coated with gold leaf. When people lean against the wall, many copper-like black dots form around them, another way to participate in creation. The effects vary significantly depending on whether people are present and the numbers of people.

Works that Change with the Seasons

One reason to visit teamLab Borderless multiple times is that the works change with the seasons, for example, “Proliferating Immense Life – A Whole Year per Year“, which displays the characteristics of the current season.

Proliferating Immense Life – A Whole Year per Year (増殖する無量の生命)

During my visit in winter, the work also conveyed the chill of the wind. This highly dimensional work lets you walk from below the water surface to above, witnessing the overall change!

Accompanied by music and the sound of wind, it feels like being in an endless dark prairie.

On the day of the visit, Tokyo experienced rare all-day snowfall, covering the Azabudai Hills in white snow, showing a sight not usually seen.

Besides the works mentioned, teamLab Borderless has introduced other works. This new permanent exhibition in teamLab Borderless is a must-visit whenever in Tokyo. If tired, you can also dine and rest at Azabudai Hills, visit other exhibitions, and not miss the nearby Toranomon Hills!

Book Tickets for teamLab Borderless TOKYO, Azabudai Hills

teamLab Borderless

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