Art, Digital and interactive
TeamLab installation
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

This immersive artwork is nothing short of breathtaking

One of the most talked-about installations during the NGV's blockbuster Triennial exhibition was a room in which a whirlpool was projected on the floor. If you walked into the room, the virtual water would eddy around your feet, creating a mini-whirlpool where you stood. Join others in the room, and you create mini aquatic patterns of virtual water flowing, whirling and reforming, interacting with everyone in the room and their space and movements. It was mesmerising, brought people together and was downright fun. In fact, during one afternoon, all of the people in the room decided to circle the room, as if dancing the hora, creating one giant whirlpool. 

The creative enterprise behind that installation is Japan's TeamLab, an art collective whose members include mathematicians, architects, CG animators and engineers. Everything they do is cutting edge but also community-oriented, driven by the latest in technology but a very human need for connection. Virtual flowers bloom in visitors' hands, a moving garden of real orchids reacts to the presence of those who stroll its paths, and projected koi flit around people's ankles, able to be scooped up and held before diving back into the water in the floor. 

During one show in a prestigious gallery in London, one team member who had been up for two days straight finishing the installation fell asleep on the floor two hours before the art-loving crowd came in. Being English, they didn't want to disturb the exhausted man, or perhaps they thought he was part of the art. As he was unmoving, virtual flowers bloomed all over his prone form, creating probably the most beautiful moments of the entire show. When he awoke and stirred, the flowers dissipated, moving their colourful pixels to settle elsewhere on unmoving people. 

TeamLab is bringing this whimsical, delightful mix of tech and art to Melbourne for a free show at the Tolarno gallery, showing three works never before seen in Melbourne. Just bring a sense of wonder.


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