Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together, for Eternity – Tokyo

teamLab, 2014, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

This is an art installation consisting of a walkway and a large open space that appears to go on for infinity. Flowers in Tokyo form the central motif of the work, changing every hour to reflect the changes of the flowers of Tokyo throughout a year.

Neither a pre-recorded animation nor on loop, the work is being rendered in real time by a computer program. The flowers spring up, grow, bud and blossom before their petals begin withering, and the flowers eventually fade away. The cycle of growth and decay repeats itself in perpetuity. The viewer’s behavior (making sudden movements or standing still) affects the cycle, causing the flowers to either wither and die, or spring up and blossom. The interaction between the viewer and the installation causes continuous change in the artwork; previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur. What you can see right now will never be repeated again in the future.

When teamLab visited the Kunisaki Peninsula in spring, we saw many cherry blossoms in the mountains and rape blossoms at the mountain base. We began to wonder how many of these flowers were planted by people and how many were propagated by nature. This place, which was simply overflowing with flowers, gave us great contentment. It also made us realize that this large number of flowers was an ecosystem that is influenced by human intervention. The boundary between the work of nature and the work of humans is extremely vague.
In other words, nature and humans are not antagonistic concepts, but rather, a pleasant nature is an ecosystem that also includes the work of humans. Also, unlike the present day, we could say that the human work of many years based on nature’s predetermined rule that humans are unable to understand or control nature, is precisely what has contributed to the creation of this pleasant nature.
Before the present day, people used to flourish and prosper along sea routes, but nowadays our focus has moved onto land routes. During our trip, we were made to wonder whether there is still something left of the pre-modern time relationship between humans and nature within our secluded valley of human habitation of many years. We also wondered what kind of behavior would constitute artificial behavior toward nature based on this premise that nature cannot be controlled, and whether these behaviors could perhaps give us clues about the future.

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