Flowers and Butterflies at Your Command

Flowers and Butterflies at Your Command

teamLab's interactive installation in the middle of Omotesando


© teamLab / lab pr

Standing still in a completely dark room, you’ll notice a few small flower buds beginning to open on your sleeve. Soon enough, a whole bed of growing, glowing flora are blossoming on your body. The rest of the room is still pitch black. The stiller you are, the more flowers bloom—and if you move a little, the flowers wither and fade away.

This is Flowers on People, an art installation from teamLab’s solo exhibition, “Transcending Boundaries.” In this piece, the four seasons complete their cycle within an hour; see if you can tell what time of year your flowers are from. This installation only works if you’re wearing white, but don’t worry if you didn’t think ahead: some unstylish … er, ethereal white ponchos are available to throw on over your clothes.

© teamLab / lab pr (チームラボ)
© teamLab / lab pr (チームラボ)

In the other installation, Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, you’re drawn to the far side of a dark room. Four large panels are mounted on the wall, and a kaleidoscope of butterflies fly in and out of them. The patterns on their wings change as they flutter by, and see what happens if you try to touch one.

teamLab are known for mixing art, science, and technology to create artworks for viewers to engage and play with. You can tell that the pieces in “Transcending Boundaries” are not simply pre-recorded and projected. The flowers and butterflies are directed by your own movements, granting you higher powers in a soothing setting to test your impressive new green thumb.

This exhibition is a nice opportunity to get a taste of teamLab’s interactive style of art. Their most recent exhibition in Odaiba, “DMM.PLANETS,” was outrageously popular, with people queueing more than three hours to see the works. Although “Transcending Boundaries” is smaller in comparison, it’s still worth the visit if you’re in the area.

During my visit at lunchtime on a weekday, there were only four other people there. Maybe we were lucky to have such privacy.

There are no limits for how long you can stay, so you can fiddle with your camera as long as you need to get the right exposure and ISO levels. Flowers on People is a particularly good Insta-tunity.

“Transcending Boundaries” is free and easy to get to. It’s open daily from 11am to 8pm, inside the beautiful Gyre shopping mall in Omotesando. The exhibition is on until September 25—so hurry!

Until Sep 25. ¥free. 3F GYRE, 5-10-1 Jingumae, Shibuya. Nearest station: Meiji-jingumae.