“I’ve never experienced anything like this before!” “I can’t believe how beautiful this is!” These are just a few of the words of praise attached to photo and video posts about teamLab Borderless, a digital art museum that’s won the esteem of audiences in Japan and worldwide. teamLab makes Japan proud with artworks that have borderless appeal: experiences to satisfy any visitor. They’ve brought countless pieces to the current exhibition, so make sure you don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with their work! We’ll be sharing their appeal from one of teamLab’s masters.
What is teamLab Borderless?
teamLab Borderless is a digital art museum located in Odaiba, one of Japan’s main tourist areas.
teamLab’s art uses technology to let visitors, and even other pieces, affect the art pieces. There are no borders between the artworks and each other, the artworks and the viewer, or the self and others. It’s an altogether new form of experience in which we become part of a borderless world.
The pieces change when people step into them, and they affect each other, creating new works. In every moment, what you see is something brand new, something that will never appear again.
Heading inside the art: Checking out teamLab Borderless!
Sharon went in representing the West, and Mao went in representing Asia as first-time visitors to teamLab Borderless—an exhibit which is very popular with international guests. “We’ve seen so many photos on Instagram and Facebook and couldn’t wait to come,” they said, filled with excitement even before entering the museum.
No Map, No Problem: teamLab Borderless is all about getting lost and enjoying yourself!
teamLab Borderless’ concept can be summed up in three verbs: “Wander, Explore and Discover.” Holding true to said principles, there are no maps or set routes to take. One wanders through the museum, enjoying the art that they find. However, it isn’t all chaos; the exhibition is divided into five zones, with about 60 exhibits among them! If you know how to enjoy them beforehand, you won’t miss out on any artistic experiences.
Our insider guide is Takashi Kudo, who knows teamLab Borderless inside and out
For this introduction, we asked Takashi Kudo of teamLab to teach us tips and tricks to enjoy the museum, including tips on the best ways to snap pictures.
Butterflies spawn from you and fly around the room in the “Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, Ephemeral Life Born from People”
There are entrances in three directions, and you can pick any of them. Intransient sights await you, where no two moments are the same. We’ll be going through the right side of the Butterfly House.
“Let’s stop for a second,” Kudo says. Then, cocoons appear on their clothes, slowly becoming butterflies before flying off. “It’s an expression of the cycle of life. Animals are born, grow up, and fade away. These butterflies are going to keep on flying into the next room.” The two couldn’t hide their surprise and excitement seeing butterflies fly from them.
Enthralls all who enter! “Forest of Flowers and People: Lost, Immersed and Reborn”
The moment everyone steps out of the Butterfly House into the next area, they let out gasps of awe. Beautiful, colorful flowers fill the entire room in this piece: “Forest of Flowers and People: Lost, Immersed and Reborn.” Whichever one of the three entrances you enter from, you always end up in this room.
“As time passes, the flowers change with the seasons. Please, try giving the wall a touch,” Kudo advises. When the two touch the wall, the flowers disappear, as if by magic. “Do you smell something?” Sharon asks. The soft scent of flowers fills the room, stimulating the senses even further. By the way, in this area the trick to taking great photos is to aim a little bit diagonally!
They continue a further into an even more grandiose world...
Enter a borderless world—become one with a waterfall in “Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather”
Stepping into this waterfall brings about splashes and rapids, making you wonder for a moment just where you are. Welcome to the “Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather”
“Since the water avoids people, the flow of the rapids changes. We wanted to create a space that becomes more beautiful as people enter, so it’ll have these changes.” Just as Kudo introduced it, the visuals changed as viewers entered. It was also a chance to see the very moment new art was created as the installation interacted with other art pieces.
“The main theme of teamLab Borderless is that the boundary between people and the world is distance. Another theme is the relationship between people and everything else. We want our viewers to touch what they can hear, to remove borders and step into the artwork and hopefully find it interesting.”
Looking at a wall in the same room, we find a variety of written characters floating down. They disappear when touched, and the world the character describes folds out from it. “Wow, it vanished!”
“These characters, ‘kanji’, always have meanings. When you touch the character, what it represents appears on the wall. For example, if you touched the kanji for ‘tree’, and someone else touched the one for ‘forest’, a bird would come flying in. That way, works combine to create new things.”
Kudo’s Tips 1: ”The flower platform gives you a bigger, more enjoyable view of the room, making it a perfect hidden photo spot.”
This is an area surprisingly few guests find. You can enjoy the exhibit from a different point of view here. It has a full view of the waterfall exhibit from a higher position.
“The presence of people sets the art in motion. I think this is a good spot to see how beauty is revealed through the viewers.” Indeed, although you couldn’t tell from below, from above you can see artwork born from people’s presence and passage. A fuller view of the space makes it even more fun.
It’s even clearer in a video!
Getting back to the exhibit, the flowers on the wall have become “Spirits of the Flowers .” Some are so large that you look tiny in comparison standing under them!
Gasp at the powerful energy of the light and its cool, beautiful effects! “Light Evaporating with People”
The cool light created by direct spotlights in “Light Evaporating with People” is particularly popular. You never know what shape it will take, so it’s always fun to visit.
The light moves in a variety of ways.
A note of confidence colors Kudo’s introduction. “Here’s a fascinating piece. It’s entirely blue except for where people stand, where it’s red.” The two are mesmerized by the work, saying that it feels like they’ve become artists themselves.
Kudo’s Tips 2: “Shoot a video or photo series! Lean the lens back from below”
“There’s a lot of movement in this room, so you want to take a photo series or a video. It’ll look really cool if you shoot from bottom to top, too!” Since the artwork changes by the second, you’ll want to get enough frames to understand it.
It’s even clearer in a video!
Change the room with an app! “Wander through the Crystal World”
Sharon and Mao were spellbound by the world of countless shining crystals in “Wander through the Crystal World.”
You can use an app made just for this room to change it. By swiping the shapes on the screen upward, the world around you will change in kind!
“Whoa! That’s pretty!” Here, crystals rain. It’s a curious sensation: you can hear rain, but it’s unclear whether it’s coming from above or below.
“It’s especially cool when you take pictures while the crystals are all snow white! You’ll feel like you’re submerged in a world of light.”
It’s even more clear in a video!
Kudo’s Tips 3: “Try using the light screen to take a silhouette photo!”
“There’s a place where you can take pretty nice photos here, too,” Kudo mentions, taking the two into a slightly narrower space. He reveals a secret of the exhibit: “If you stand in the middle of the corner, the light becomes like a screen, and you can take photos of just your silhouettes!”
Perfect for photos! Enjoy the embrace of lamps! “Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke”
The “Forest of Resonating Lamps” was particularly popular with guests, with plenty of pictures uploaded to social media. Since it was so popular, we had to line up to see what all the fuss was about.
When you stand in front of a lamp, it lights up. That light spreads to the adjacent lamps, spreading around the room before it comes back to you.
“The light is orange now, but sometimes it’s white-highlighted blue. It changes based on the season. Much like the others, this one stays the same color if the room is empty, but it changes colors when people come in.”
Kudo’s Tips 4: “If you want an Instaworthy picture, shoot from below to capture an endless field of lamps.”
“If you take your picture from below, you’ll catch a lot of lamps in the photo – it’ll turn out really well!” Kudo took a picture himself to demonstrate.
While you might want to stay surrounded by lamps forever, only a certain amount of people can be in the room at a time, and time is limited, so don’t hesitate to take pictures from different angles.
Watch out for art when you’re on the move! Stay sharp and check everything!
There are plenty of exhibits on the way to the next room, too. “If you stand right to where it looks like the bamboo is touching your face, you can take a really nice photo,” Kudo says.
Going up the stairs, the two suddenly find art drawn on their faces. “Wow! I look like a movie poster!” You never know where some kind of exhibit will appear.
It’s even clearer in a video!
The tea itself is art! The incredibly novel “EN TEA HOUSE”
Although it requires you to line up to enter, the “EN TEA HOUSE” is a must-see. Flowers bloom from tea poured into tea bowls, and they vanish when you finish drinking them.
In addition to the art, enjoy high quality tea and ice cream.
Enjoy teamLab Borderless freely and how you see fit!
Finally, we received this message from Kudo. “I’m very glad that visitors from abroad like our exhibits. They’ve come all the way to Japan from their home country, so I’d really like them to enjoy it here as much as they can. I shared a few ways to take great photos and enjoy the exhibits here, but you can also check social media to see how other people are taking their pictures and enjoying themselves as well. Just a bit of research before you come will make your time here even more fun! Wander about as you please and enjoy making discoveries that are yours alone.”
There are other exhibits that we couldn’t introduce here, but all the exhibits are once in a lifetime. What you see here is unique to you, in that fleeting moment. Isn’t that beautiful? There’s the excitement of not knowing what you’ll see, or when you’ll see it – it’s an adventure! Feel free to use this article as your guide as you venture forth into a new, borderless world!
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM : teamLab Borderless森ビルデジタルアートミュージアム：エプソン チームラボボーダレス
- Address Odaiba Palette Town, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan／東京都江東区青海1-3-8 お台場パレットタウン
Main : 03-6368-4292 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
Weekdays: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Weekends: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
* EN TEA HOUSE opens 1 hour after the museum door opens. Last order is 30 minutes before closing.
* Last entry 1 hour before the museum closing time.
* Hours may vary depending on the season.
Second and fourth Tuesdays of every month
* Operating hours and days of closure differ by season. Please check their official website at (https://borderless.teamlab.art/#information) for further details.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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