teamLab Borderless in Odaiba, Tokyo: Transcending Boundaries Through Interactive Digital Art
In the Philippines, art is slowly being redefined by street graffiti, art fairs, and independent art exhibitions. In Japan, art is also being revolutionized in a way that is very much apt for its image as a world leader in technology and innovation.
Japan has been the home of teamLab, an art collective that is composed of not only artists (in the traditional sense of the word) but also programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects. Together, they produce digital art that provides a unique experience for everyone who steps into the world they create. They are known particularly for their genius play with lights and interactive digital art.
Just last June 2018, teamLab together with Mori Building launched “Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless,” which aims to transcend boundaries between artworks, art and people, and oneself and others. Located inside the Palette Town complex in Odaiba, teamLab Borderless is the collective’s first permanent exhibition in Tokyo.
Like a galaxy contained in a 10,000-square-meter building, the museum contains interconnected worlds without boundaries, each world transitioning seamlessly as you step into the next. It is a magical place—the kind that will make you vocalize your awe the whole time, the kind that will alter your perception of reality for the moment.
In the Borderless World, one of the five worlds, flowers bloom at your feet, elephants and lions live as floral creatures, and lights dance around you.
In the Athletics Forest, you can jump in a galactic trampoline, traverse a “weightless forest,” or challenge yourself in three-dimensional light bouldering. You can also play in a “graffiti nature” created by people’s imagination—the animals that you will find crawling, swimming, or leaping came out of someone’s drawing, scanned on a computer, and then released into the “wild.”
The Future Park, especially dedicated to children, is where ocean creatures are colored and brought to life by children and where there are playful little people on tables and walls. There is also a sloped “fruit field” where children can enjoy sliding.
In the Forest of Lamps, the sensation is so magical that it is easily one of the visitors’ top favorites at teamLab Borderless. You stand still next to a lamp (no need to touch it!), and light spreads through the nearby lamps, a different color each time. The more people there are in the room, the more colorful and magical it becomes.
Lastly, the EN Tea House proves that even gastronomy can be digitized and be integrated with digital art. In this place, you can get a glimpse of the universe in your teacup, where lights seem to have a life of their own. Flowers bloom in your teacup, and they are very reactive even up until you finish your tea. The tea house serves hot and cold teas at ¥500.
In total, there are around 50 digital artworks to experience within the five zones. This little galaxy of borderless worlds is a work of genius—something that the creators truly deserve recognition for. It is one of Tokyo’s newest attractions that is easily catching fire, and it will soon be one of Japan’s most sought-after destinations.
• ¥3,200 – adults
• ¥1,000 – children 4-14 y/o
*Reservation is recommended.
• High heels and sandals are not allowed in certain areas, so it is recommended to wear comfortable closed shoes. If for some reason you had to come in high heels, there is a shoe counter where you could borrow a pair for free.
• Some areas have mirrored floors so it is best for women to wear pants.
• There is a locker room where you can leave your bag for free. Take advantage of it, so that you can move around the worlds freely.
• You can interact with the lights at the Crystal World (part of the Borderless World) through the teamLab Exhibition App. You can download it for free on Google Play and iTunes.
• If you want to avoid the crowd, it is ideal to visit late in the afternoon, after 3 pm.
How to get there
• Nearest stations: Tokyo Teleport Station and Aomi Station (5-minute walk)
• From Tokyo Station, it takes at least 20 minutes to go to Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai Line.
• From Shibuya Station, it also takes around 20 minutes to go to Tokyo Teleport Station on the Saikyo Line.
Address: Odaiba Palette Town 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo (Beside the Ferris wheel)
Operating Hours: 10 am to 7 pm (Mon to Thu, Sun & holidays); 10 am to 9 pm (Fri to Sat & holiday eve)
Facebook Page: teamLab Borderless / チームラボボーダレス
Written by Rei Leaño
Images courtesy of teamLab Borderless
This first appeared in Philippine Primer English magazine’s Vol. 31 – October issue.