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Is This the Digitized Aquarium of the Future?

teamLab's Inoko Toshiyuki tells us about 'Night Aquarium' and their on-going urban art takeover.

'Resonating Sea'All image courtesy of teamLab. 

A gorgeously enhanced aquarium brings the unstoppable teamLab one step closer to their new objective of transforming a city into a digital work of art. The Digitized City Art Project is “based on the concept of ‘using digital art to influence the relationships between people in a space,’” the studio’s CEO Inoko Toshiyuki tells The Creators Project. “My desire to turn the aquarium into an artistic space while maintaining its current function is one such example. I thought I could take a piece of nature, in this case fish, and turn it into art by using something intangible like light.”


Night Aquarium encompasses three installations: the Flowers and Fish display at the Enoshima Aquarium Big Sagami Bay Tank, the singing orbs of Resonating Spheres and Night Fish, and, most recently, the vivid light-dyed tanks of Small Resonating Sea.

Together, the triad of oceanic installations, turns the Kanagawa aquarium into an art space. Toshiyuki explains, "The artwork constantly alters itself in response to the movement of fish."

Resonating Spheres. 

The first and largest of these components presented a challenge, even to the highly experienced team of programmers, 3D CGI animators, engineers, and architects which peoples teamLab. “Flowers are projected onto the glass of the water tank,” the CEO continues. “When the fish swim up to the glass, they come in contact with the flowers, which then scatter and fall. I think orienting the sensors to the fishes’ movement was difficult. We also created flowers that bloom when they come in contact with the fish. A particularly beautiful moment is when the rays swim with their stomach facing the glass. However, we could not control the fishes’ movement, so waiting for the fish to swim toward the glass in order to adjust the light was difficult.”

Flowers and Fish.

Flowers and Fish. 

In conjunction with the fish, flowers, and tech tricks of Night Aquarium, the studio’s Digitized City Art Project so far comprises their Resonating Trees and Rakuen Pond installations. Eventually, teamLab aims, "to convert parts of the city and parts of nature into one overall work of art."


As Toshiyuki says, "We can do this by changing non-physical elements such as light and sound, without the need to change any of the physical elements inherent within the city. By building a perceptual awareness of the surroundings and creating a network, we can use the original functions of the elements that already exist […] We can then expand this concept further to think about the city itself becoming a huge artistic space, by using digital technology and leaving the functions of the city in their original form."

See more of teamLab's work on their website.


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