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Light Behaves Like Fire and Water at New teamLab Installation

With algorithms, light bulbs, and pointillism techniques, the Japanese techno-cult harnesses the most unwieldy parts of nature.
February 4, 2016, 4:45pm
GIF via. Images courtesy the artists

What is more compelling than the opposing composites of fire and water? Artists at Japanese techno-cult teamLab recreate both elements with an innovative system of sculptural light particles in their recent projects, Black Waves into Infinity and Light Sculpture of Flames.

Flames is a cube of "light points" orchestrated by an algorithm that uses the same pointillist techniques as Georges Seurat and Maximilian Luce to simulate what we actually see when we look at fire. "Most flames appear white at the center and red towards the outside, creating an appearance of layered colors, an effect that cannot be expressed with a solid three-dimensional object," teamLab writes in the description. "This artwork, with a flat painterly quality, seeks to express a layered flame in a sculptural form. From any angle, the sculpture appears as a solid object of flames expressed in layers of colors."

Black Waves is a mirrored infinity room, with a real-time generative simulation of the ocean projected onto what appears to be a blanket of fog. Hundreds of thousands of calculations go into making every second of the experience unique and irreplicable. The design is intended to channel the traditional Japanese way of depicting water in art, with lines that teamLab says, "give the impression of life, as though water was a living entity." This leads them to ask, "Did people in pre-modern times see the world (oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water) as a living entity made up of a collection of lines just as depicted in classical Japanese painting?" Walking through the simulation room eliminates the barrier between visitors and the waves, ideally opening the mind to the idea of oceans and rivers as living beings unto themselves.

The footage below is from each installtion's beta, but they'reset to open as part of teamLab and the Menlo Park Pace Gallery's Living Digital Space and Future Parks exhibition on February 6.

Check out more of teamLab's work on their website and in our previous coverage below.

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