Hemingway called the cultural scene of Paris a “moveable feast,” and this description could be aptly applied to the world that teamLab has constructed. Stepping inside Shanghai’s EPSON teamLab Borderless, you’ll discover a space in constant flux. The artworks within its walls—all of which are inspired by nature and humans—move freely throughout the building in the form of sound, lights, and electricity, appearing before visitors as a visual feast of contemporary art.
By recreating sights and phenomena that we’re familiar with in the real world, teamLab transplants visitors into a lucid dream filled with subterranean springs, crystalline formations, and flower meadows populated by winged insects. Processions of musicians parade across these terrains under rapidly changing weather conditions. Together, these elements form a closed ecosystem where everything seems to meld with one another—it’s often difficult to tell where each installation ends and the next begins. These interconnected sequences explore the cycle of life and death, the communication between all things, among other abstract concepts. And visitors, who find themselves drifting between the real and the virtual, are invited to reflect on the relationship between technology, nature, and mankind.
海明威曾用 “流动的盛宴” 来形容巴黎美不胜收的城市人文光景，这样的形容放在 teamLab 所打造的世界或许非常贴切。置身于上海 EPSON teamLab 无界场馆内，你会发现这里任何事物都具有流动性，它们由自然和人文构成，以声、光、电的形式穿梭在场馆内的每一个角落，在参与者面前呈现了一场当代的视觉感官盛宴。
Within the winding corridors of the 6,600 square meters space, over 50 works of art are on display. And surprisingly, no map is provided for visitors. Instead, art-goers are encouraged to navigate the museum by instinct. In a way, the experience is meant to share parallels with life: our curiosity often urges us to explore the unknown and make our own surprising discoveries.
The visitors themselves are an essential part of the teamLab experience, encouraged to engage in dialogue with the creatures and environments. When an art-goer approaches one of the museum’s digital inhabitants, they’ll receive a friendly greeting; and when a flower is disturbed, the petals will fall, and it’ll begin to wither away. However, aside from events being triggered by visitors, the artworks also undergo change on their own. Everything—whether it be people, the artworks themselves, or the passage of time—has an effect on the environment. These interdependent systems and interactions are what make the museum truly “borderless.”
EPSON teamLab 上海美术馆总面积 6,600 m²，共约 50 件艺术品在这个复杂的立体空间内展出。令人意外的是，场馆内并没有明确的地图标示，参与者需要跟随自己的意识与直觉去发现不同的空间，但仔细想一想，当我们面对未知的世界时，好奇心往往会令人们探索更多，并带来更多惊喜。
Through their immersive installations, teamLab aims to introduce a few different concepts. For one, unlikely things making connections and undergoing change may be the best way for us to understand the world; by seeing the birth and death of living things, you discover their frailty. These experiences are all a part of the circle of existence: we have an impact on each other, and this interdependence is what supports and makes the world.
The emphasis on building connections reflects teamLab’s own modus operandi. Founded in Tokyo in 2001, the collective is made up of artists, programmers, engineers, CGI animators, mathematicians, architects, and other experts from various fields. Currently, they have locations and exhibitions throughout the world. Ahead of the opening of their newest museum in Shanghai, Neocha caught up with teamLab’s communication director, Takashi Kudo, to chat about the world they’ve created.
这些观念打造而成的精妙联系，仿佛也映射出 teamLab 的团队运作模式。这支 2001 年成立于日本东京的艺术团队，由艺术家，程序员，工程师，CG 动画师，数学家和建筑师等各个领域专家共同打造。如今他们的场馆与展览遍布世界各地，在上海场馆开幕前夕，我们找到了 teamLab 团队的传播总监工藤岳（Takashi Kudo）先生，与他聊了聊 teamLab 构建的世界。
Neocha: Most of teamLab’s digital works are closely related to the natural world. What is the significance of nature for teamLab?
Takashi Kudo: We’re captivated by the natural world, and we wanted to find our own method of understanding it. The way we hoped to achieve this isn’t only through observing and thinking about it logically but through tactile experiences. Physicality something we wanted to bring to visitors too. The museum is our interpretation of the natural world, and we hope the experience can clearly demonstrate the relationship between people and nature.
工藤岳: 自然令我们着迷，而 teamLab 希望找到自己的方式认知整个世界。我们所认知的世界并不只是通过视觉与大脑，而更多的是身体的感知，这其实都是我们希望参与者体验到的内容。场馆内的所有事物都来自大自然，同时整个展厅是我们对现实自然的全新诠释，我们希望用这样的方式构建人与自然之间的联系。
Neocha: What do you think technology’s role is in contemporary art?
Takashi Kudo: For humans, technology is often a tool, a way of making life more convenient. Technological innovations make art even more accessible. It’s like how somebody invented the canvas, the brush, the easel, and so on. New tools expand the possibilities of art, allowing us to capture things that can’t be explained by words, something we believe in, something beautiful.
Neocha: Last year, teamLab Borderless debuted in Tokyo, and now, the Shanghai location is about to open. What are the major differences between the two locations?
Takashi Kudo: How we want visitors to feel in the two spaces are completely different. They each have their own personalities. In Shanghai, there are many new installations and artworks, and certain exhibits are much larger than their Japanese counterparts. What the two spaces do share though are a similar feeling of borderlessness.
We’re very appreciative that China and the local community have given us an opportunity to open a museum here. It was great that we could find partners and meet fans who are excited to see our work here.
Neocha: A lot of people see teamLab exhibitions as an opportunity for selfies and photos. How do you feel about this?
Takashi Kudo: Taking pictures is an act of self-expression. When someone post a photo online, it’s their own creative output. Whether a visitor would like to take pictures or videos in our museums is completely up to them. What’s most important to us is for people to be there, and they can enjoy it as they see fit. For example, how I experience the museum by myself is very different from when I experience it with family and friends. I actually think it’s beautiful that people want to preserve the memories of our work through photos and share it with others.
Neocha: 现如今 teamLab 被部分人看作是拍照圣地，你们如何看待这一现象？
Neocha: What can we expect from teamLab in the near future?
Takashi Kudo: We don’t know what the future holds. But we believe in building the future alongside like-minded collaborators. If people enjoy the Shanghai space, we’d love to see if there are other opportunities for more teamLab experiences.
Neocha: 未来，teamLab 还将会带来哪些令人期待的内容？
工藤岳: 我们对未来一无所知。但我们相信，创造未来一定离不开志同道合的合作伙伴。如果人们喜欢 teamLab 上海的场地，我们很乐意寻找机会带来更多体验。
EPSON teamLab Borderless Shanghai opens its doors on November 5th. Tickets are available here.
100 Huayuangang Rd.
Huangpu District, Shanghai
People’s Republic of China
Tuesday ~ Sunday, 10:30am ~ 9:30pm
EPSON teamLab 无界美术馆将 11 月 5 日正式开幕，购票请前往官网。
花园港路 100 号