Singapore is the only place for our futuristic ideas, says Japanese art collective teamLab

Reena Devi
Lifestyle Reporter
(Photo: Md Al-Hafiz Hosni for Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Remember the flood of images on Facebook and Instagram of the Future World: Where Art Meets Science exhibition at Art Science Museum in 2016? Or the popular digital art projection on ArtScience Museum’s exterior, as part of the annual i Light Marina Bay Festival the same year?

Brace yourself and your social media feed because teamLab, the Japanese digital art collective behind those works, is back.

This time their multi-sensory immersive installation, Digital Light Canvas opens up the entire space at the former skating rink at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, allowing visitors to view the visually-arresting digital show and special effects from several floors.

(Photo: Md Al-Hafiz Hosni for Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Opening to the public on Friday (22 December), this brand new permanent installation lets visitors roam freely on the LED display floor, thereby changing the movement and colours of the fish, flowers and brushstrokes; they can watch ‘birds’ fly across the light installation above; or even post personal greeting messages.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore at the media preview, teamLab founder Toshiyuki Inoko said the idea for this work is so futuristic it could only be realised in Singapore.

“Even when we proposed this kind of installation to the client in other countries, it’s very difficult to realise. We can only realise this kind of crazy idea in Singapore. It’s too futuristic, so that’s why we like Singapore,” he said.

(Photo: Md Al-Hafiz Hosni for Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

From as far as three floors up, visitors can view the 14m tall light sculpture hung 22m high with 401,000 LEDs strung within 608 tubes.  This structure also houses teamLab’s 4D vision display technology.

The main highlight is the floor made of more than 7.7 million individually controlled LEDs with special effects rendered in real time, responding to visitors’ movements.

Throughout the day, there will be digital displays on playback – Nature’s Rhythm, a 56-minute display of birds soaring through the light sculpture with fishes splashing across the blue LED floor, and Strokes of Life, a four-minute showcase of calligraphy strokes, birds, butterflies, and flowers.

There is no doubt that Digital Light Canvas is going to be an Instragrammable feature at Marina Bay Sands. However, getting attention on social media is not teamLab’s intention behind their works.

“I just want to explore the reasons people feel beauty when they see nature in real life. Fish are always just going to swim around. They don’t intend to be beautiful but we feel the beauty when we look at them. I am very interested in why we feel the beauty in that kind of natural things and I wanted to explore that,” said Inoko.

(Photo: Md Al-Hafiz Hosni for Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

During festive seasons, visitors can activate 3D images of light crystals with their smartphones and decorate the light sculpture with ornaments or set off any of the 30 over light displays and crystal fireworks of all colours and types.

Another interesting highlight of the work – it allows visitors to create personal birthday wishes, greetings and even wedding proposals on the LED floor  for the price of $50. Messages will be written in golden calligraphy, followed by a burst of fireworks in the light sculpture, adding the requisite celebratory vibe.

(Photo: Md Al-Hafiz Hosni for Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

When asked about future plans for upcoming works in Singapore, Inoko is enthusiastic and open.

“Singapore is a very special country and special city for teamLab, so I want to create the future together with Singapore. So if there is any potential project that we can create the future together, I would be very happy to do that,” he said.

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