Living with 13,000 “floating” orchids, it is a garden like no other
Dan Hodge, CNN and Amanda Sealy, CNN
Patience. Agreement. Tranquility. This is what Tokyo-based “ultra-tech” teamLab wants visitors to experience when they step into its new artwork, titled “Floating Flower Garden; The flowers and I are from the same root, the garden and I are one.
But this immersive installation marks a departure for the world-renowned collective, known for colliding technology and art through interactive LEDs, projections and soundscapes. Here, it’s natural, rather than digital, that leaves visitors spellbound
Unveiled during the summer, the work is made up of more than 13,000 living orchids. Suspended from the ceiling, they grow along almost invisible threads to give the impression of floating in the air.
Once you approach the orchid curtain, however, the magic of teamLab’s signing begins to take shape. Triggered by sensors, the flowers slowly begin to rise, allowing you to enter the space, before descending behind you.
“We use real living orchids, but behind them are so many technologies,” explains Takeshi Kudo, communications director at teamLab.
“The main concept still hasn’t changed: we try to bring people inside our facilities. “
Wrapped in flowers
While the artwork appears to be completely overrun with flowers, when they float, they create new spaces for visitors to explore. For this reason, people can walk around the facility freely, albeit at a pace dictated by the flowers themselves.
“The garden is starting to make room for humans… But they move very slowly, so you have to adapt your time to that of the garden,” Kudo explains.
For Kudo and the teamLab collective, which includes artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects, orchids were the perfect flower for the exhibition. Evolved to grow without soil, they symbolize a resilience and adaptability that the artistic collective hopes to explore through the work of art.
“Orchids, you can see, have so many colors and there are so many different types. They can live without soil, and we can learn so much from these orchids and other plants. (They have) more history than human beings.
The exhibition takes on its full meaning when you stop in the center of the space, the floating plants slowly closing around you. Enveloped by a mirrored floor, the light streaming from the ceiling, the aromas of plants and the otherworldly soundscape of composer Hideaki Takahashi, it’s a satisfying – and almost hallucinogenic – assault on the senses.
“Floating flower garden; Flowers and I are of the Same Root, the Garden and I are One ”is on display at teamLab Planets, a Tokyo museum showcasing nine captivating works that encourage visitors to become one with art. The facility will remain open until the end of 2022.
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