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Flowers Bloom and Wither in New Interactive Installation

Japanese multimedia art collective teamLab chart the life and death of flowers in their latest exhibition.
May 1, 2016, 2:00pm
Screencaps via

When Japanese multimedia art collective teamLab released Flutter Of Butterflies Beyond Borders last fall at London’s Saatchi Gallery, they experimented with a year’s worth of bloom and decay via an immersive space full of projected flowers and butterflies. For their latest work, Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together, teamLab return to the concept of annual change, this time with colorful, luminous flowers sprouting, growing, budding and blossoming before withering and eventually fading away. Viewers amble across a walkway that goes through a large open space that seems to go on infinitely, and where a year is equivalent to an hour spent in the exhibition.

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“The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity,” teamLab explains on their website. “The interaction of viewers causes the flowers to shed their petals all at once, whither and die, or come to life and blossom again (depending on if the viewer is close to the work or standing back from the work).”

The installation is neither pre-recorded nor a loop. Instead, a computer program is rendering it in real-time. On top of that, Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together is interactive—meaning the viewer can tour the installation, triggering “continuous change” in the artwork.

“Previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur,” teamLab says. “What you can see right now will never be repeated again in the future.”

TeamLab was inspired to create the installation while on a springtime trip to Japan’s Kunisaki Peninsula, where they saw a number of cherry blossoms in the mountains and rapeseed blossoms at the the base of the mountain. They realized that the boundary between flower propagation through nature or human intervention was vague, and not antagonistic but “pleasant.” Either way, they figured nature really couldn’t be controlled, much like humans, and that these behaviors could provide clues to humanity and Earth’s future.

The installation is set to be exhibited as part of teamLab IsLands: Dance! Art Museum, Learn & Play! Interactive Theme Park, which is being held at THE SPACE, located in the Forum Zone of Central World shopping plaza in Bangkok, Thailand. Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together runs May 1 to July 31.

Click here to see more of teamLab’s work.

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