Many have philosophized on the complex tensions within the relationship of technology versus nature, but have artists now created a way where both realms can live in harmony? Mark Thompson of The Japan Times helps us discover the answer in his August 2017 article, “Reconnecting with our nature: teamLab’s digital revolution,” where he speaks about one of the latest digital projects by teamLab.
Founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab is a Tokyo based art collective of self-proclaimed “ultra-technologists” compiled of engineers, architects, programmers, artists, designers, ad creatives all working together to create digital art that can turn Nature into a part of the art without causing harm. Their project titled, “A Forest Where Gods Live” was debuted from July 14 to October 29, 2017 and was a large-scale, interactive collection of digital installations through one of Japan’s oldest gardens in Mifuneyama Rakuen Park at Takeo in Saga Prefecture Japan. The garden is dated to be 172 years old, constructed during the Edo Period, and is 500,000 square meters; Mifuneyama Rakuen Park is also home to Takeo Shrine, as well as the Scared Okusu Tree.
Many guests of the park have noted how the border between the garden and the wild forest of the Mifuneyama Mountain is ambiguous and evokes a sense of immersion and connection between humans and nature. This leads to the focus of what teamLab wanted to convey for, what they call this installation, this “digitized nature”. None of the installations are video loops but rather sequences based off of coded algorithms so that the experience feels fresh and alive like the nature it adorns and creating a harmonized experience of the man-made and nature.
With this grand work by teamLab, people can venture through the forest and be a part of a whole new digital experience that puts the beauty of Nature as the focal point; as Inoko stated when debuting the project, “Throw away the map and get lost in this forest. It might change the way you think.”