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Drawing on the Water Surface with Lotus Flowers, Created by the Dance of Koi and Small Boats on Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond | © teamLab
Drawing on the Water Surface with Lotus Flowers, Created by the Dance of Koi and Small Boats on Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond | © teamLab
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teamLab Brings Japanese Park to Life with Immersive Installations

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 1 August 2017

Quite literally turning nature into art, Japanese art collective teamLab have installed 14 interactive spellbinding digital artworks throughout the picturesque Mifuneyama Rakuen Park in Takeo-city, Saga.

Drawing on the Water Surface with Lotus Flowers, Created by the Dance of Koi and Small Boats on Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond | © teamLab

Open to the public since 1845, the 500,000-square metre garden, which was created at the end of the Edo period, has been transformed through a myriad of immersive digital installations that react to the presence of the public and modifies nature into art without harming it.

Courtesy Mifuneyama Rakuen Park

teamlab’s interventions take inspiration from the magical surroundings of the park, set within the magnificent Japanese forest. Not only is it overlooked by Mifuneyama Mountain, but it also houses a number of sacred trees including a 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine – Japan’s 7th largest.

Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock | © teamLab

Known for their playful interactive installations that draw on the continuous cycle of life and the relationship between humans and nature, teamlab have responded to the ambiguous boundary between man-made garden and natural forest with works that encourage immersion, discovery and even the potential to get lost in the park’s grounds.

Drawing on the Water Surface with Lotus Flowers | © teamLab

Utilising the park’s captivating qualities that have transfixed people for centuries, the trees, foliage, caves and rocks become teamLab’s canvas onto which they project digital illusions. 

One of the most ambitious projects is Drawing on the Water Surface with Lotus Flowers (2017), that uses sensors to change the projection on the Mifuneyama Rakuen pond’s surface depending on the movement of the boat and koi fish in the water.

Ever Blossoming Life Rock | © teamLab

On a giant rock covered in moss expect to encounter the indigenous flowers of the area in a constant state of birth and death as they repeatedly bloom, wither and disappear.

Enso of Split Rock Maple | © teamLab

On another rock that enshrines the Inari Daimyojin deity, Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock, creates the illusion of a waterfall in the middle of the forest. While a projected calligraphic form known as an ‘Enso’ turns a huge rock in which a maple has embedded itself into a virtual Zen symbol of enlightenment.

Explore more of the intriguing installations that illuminate the park like never before.

Graffiti Nature – Creatures Living in Ruins of a Public Bathhouse | © teamLab

Memory of Continuous Life | © teamLab

Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley | © teamLab

Resonating Forest – Cherry Blossoms and Maple | © teamLab

teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live presented by Shiseido is at Mifuneyama Rakuen, Takeo 4100, Takeo-cho, Takeo, Saga, Japan until October 9, 2017.

What to discover more immersive art installations? Why not visit Camille Walala’s London exhibition.