In a newly-created building made by Mori Group, the innovating artists at teamLab have created a permanent collection of digital and physical art named “Borderless” that should be near the top of your Tokyo ‘to-do’ list.
teamLab Borderless is located in Tokyo’s newest development area and high-tech hub, Odaiba.
Like a shining beacon for the area, teamLab’s permanent exhibition-slash-museum contains over 50 immersive artworks spanning digital and physical, audio and visual in a gigantic 10,000 square metre, specifically designed space.
It’s the result of what happens when technology and art combine in innovative ways, and for teamLab, it’s the culmination of 17 years of experience, with new and old works curated and created by the self-proclaimed ultra-technologist group.
With such experience behind them, it’s no wonder they can easily fill the giant space. The exhibition is organised into 5 main areas: Borderless world, Athletics Forest, Future park, Forest of lamps and EN tea house. However, you won’t find any signs on how to get to any of the artworks when you’re inside.
In the teamLab Borderless exhibition, you see, it’s all about discovery.
A brand new artwork could be waiting around every corner, with each artwork being unique in some way, changing when interacted with, and learning and adapting when new people visit - teamLab says that no two visits will ever be the same. That is, if you manage to find all the artworks in the dark labyrinth filled with twists, corners, little nooks and hidden spaces they’ve created.
Seeking out the ‘Instafamous’ spots will be an easier task, though.
On my visit to Borderless, the line for ‘Forest of resonating lamps’ was over 70 minutes long, spanning around 4 different corners - a fairly average time to wait, as told by one of the staff.
The wait was worth it though - Forest of resonating lamps is perhaps the poster-child for the entire Borderless experience.
It’s certainly like no artwork or installation you’ve ever seen, with what seems like a never ending illusion of brightly coloured lamps, changing colour as you approach them as they’re suspended from the roof in a giant mirror room.
Another artwork to look out for is “Crystal world” - an interactive room filled with columns of dangling lights that change colour depending on commands sent from a device in the control room.
If you’ve been to the one in the ArtScience museum in Singapore, it’s fairly similar, but much larger, and just as beautiful.
Tip for trying to find “Crystal World” - it’s located across hall from the entrance of Forest of resonating lamps, before you go up the stairs. 😉
The other 50+ artworks are there for you to discover yourself. It’ll take multiple visits to really get to know everything, but you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
How to get to teamLab Borderless
It’s located in Odaiba, next to Palette town’s ferris wheel.
Access via train is very easy. Both Aomi and Toyko Teleport stations are a very short walking distance to the museum, and there’s lots of car parks around if you’re driving.
Currently, entry costs 3200 yen ($40AUD, $30USD), and you purchase a ticket for single-use access with no time limit. You need to buy in advance though - there hasn’t been same day tickets for sale since it opened, so make sure you plan ahead.
It’s also recommended to go first thing in the morning (there will be a line before it opens) or within a few hours of closing. There are alot of people, and trying to get a shot with no one in it is an exercise in patience.
How to capture teamLab Borderless
The entire space is very very dark.
Aside from the flashes of light in some artworks, select your lenses accordingly.
Personally for the Forest of resonating lamps and Crystal world, a 12-24mm f4 or 16-35mm f2.8 works well - it’s super wide to capture the scale, and there’s just enough light in there to get away without cranking your ISO too much.
Also, you’re not able to bring bulky bags into the exhibition, so make sure to have a strap for your camera and perhaps a small side bag for an extra lens.