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Space-Time Manipulation in 'Future World' at the ArtScience Museum


Space-Time Manipulation in 'Future World' at the ArtScience Museum
Image courtesy of Suhaimi Abdullah via Getty Images

FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science is the ArtScience Museum's inagural permanent exhibition that occupies a 1,500m2 space, taking up approximately a quarter of the museum and deatures 15 interactive art installations by multi-award-wining ultra-technologist Japanese art collective teamLab.

L-R: Mr Toshiyuki Inoko, founder of teamLab; Ms Honor Hager, Curator for The ArtScience Museum and Mr Ikkan Sanada of Ikkan Art Gallery

What does a 100 years look like in 10 minutes? 100 Years Sea Animation Diorama by the 400-strong art collective teamLab uses scientific data derived for the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) to show us what the world’s rising sea levels would look like. Standing before the 20m screen, with the animated waves swirling around you and crashing down on to you, you feel a sense of helplessness in the face of the simulated sublime.

'100 Years Sea Animation Diorama' by teamLab
Image courtesy of teamLab & The ArtScience Museum

That is the power of the digital post-photographic world that we live in. We have become conditioned to see and think ‘photographically’, meaning that we readily accept images that have no original in reality as something that is real; we see beyond what our eyes can actually see aided by computer technology. This is what Jean Baudrillard was talking about in his concept of the hyperreal, and it has now become a reality in terms of teamLab’s ultra-technological work.

'Universe of Water Particles' by teamLab
Image courtesy of teamLab and The ArtScienceMuseum

In Universe of Water Particles we can now see computer-generated water consisting of hundreds of thousands of water particles cascading down a virtually sculpted rock. Using a computer to calculate the movement of the particles, the water flows according to a simulation based on the laws of physics. This utilizes teamLab’s concept of Ultra Subjective Space in which they explore the spatial awareness of pre-modern Japanese art that is ‘flat’ in terms of three-dimensional renderings, by building a three-dimensional world and flattening them using logical constructs.

In some sense, this might seem to defeat the purpose of generating a three-dimensional space, based on Western mathematical concepts of linear perspectival logic in which objects recede in space. However, with this technology teamLab is able to reconstruct the way in which humans really see, which is actually a much narrower and shallower field of vision that is synthesized in our brains to give us the illusion that we see more depth than we do. In some sense, teamLab’s Ultra Subjective Space forces us to undo our ‘photographic vision’ and really understand what we are seeing by using the tools of the digital post-photographic age itself.

'Crystal Universe' by teamLab
Image courtesy of teamLab and The ArtScience Museum

Crystal Universe, one of the most instagrammed works at the exhibition besides being aesthetically beautiful, presents a world that we have never physically seen, but take to be visually realistic based on NASA images, and re-presents those pixels as a parallel universe constructed out of binary code. The four-dimensional installation, made up of 170,000 LED lights, is a breath-taking work and fills you with wonder and amazement through its immersive qualities.

Crystal Universe timelapse, Future World

So much universe, and so little time- Terry Pratchett.

Posted by ArtScience Museum on Wednesday, 27 April 2016

All the works have a form of engaging element to them and will appeal to all ages. In Sketch Aquarium, viewers are encouraged to draw out two-dimensional sea creatures and scan them. These drawings will be projected into a virtual aquatic ecosystem on a wall that simultaneously responds to physical movements, creating an ever-changing work of art.

'Sketch Aquarium' (backgorund) and 'Light Ball Orchestra' (foreground) by teamLab
Image courtesy of teamLab and The ArtScience Museum

In a world where technology can have an isolating effect on us, another work Light Ball Orchestra, becomes a medium through which we interact. As the participants touch the balls and the balls bump against one another, the lights within the balls and the music around the installation changes, changing the composition, colour and sound of the space.

Mr Toshiyuki Inoko, founder of teamLab having a go at the interactive 'Light Ball Orchestra' installation

Future World is amazing showcase of technology and how far we have come in terms of pushing the boundaries of data and the digital. However, against the colouful projections and fancy motion sensors it is easy to forget that with new developments technology, often comes new issues such as privacy and boundaries. These issues and more will be addressed and analysed in the ArtScience Museum’s partner exhibition to FutureWorld, Big Bang Data that opens this coming weekend 21st May 2016.


Future World is showing at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands, 6 Bayfront Avenue Singapore 018974. For more information click here.

If you would like to find out more about teamLab, click here to read our interview.

Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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