Bursts of flowers and butterflies surround the darkened room’s walls and floor. If you touch the butterflies, they “die” but the flowers will regrow eventually.
We were at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands for a media preview of its first permanent exhibition called Future World – Where Art Meets Science. The interactive, digital art installation spans 1,500sq m, approximately a quarter of the museum’s total gallery space.
Opened to the public on March 12, Future World is created in collaboration with teamLab, a Japanese group of “ultra-technologists” and multi-award- winning art collective formed in 2001 in Tokyo.
Nature-inspired plus futuristic, the exhibition features 15 interactive art installations organised into four central themes — Nature, Town, Park and Space.
“At ArtScience Museum, we explore the intersection between art, science, technology and culture. This is where we see innovation and new ideas take root. It is where the future is being shaped,” said Honor Harger, executive director of ArtScience Museum, at the media launch on March 10.
“TeamLab’s fluid combination of artistic expression, technological ingenuity, scientific enquiry and insistence that ‘we are the future’, beautifully aligns with our mission. The melding of art and science, which is at the core of teamLab’s philosophy, is what we were designed to do as a museum.
“We really believe that the coming together of these fields give us the best chance to create creative solutions to some of the big problems faced by society today,” said Harger.
Founded by Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab consists of hundreds of technologists from different technical and creative backgrounds including artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects, designers and editors. Their range of expertise encompasses animation, sound, performance, the Internet, fashion and design.
The group is known for its innovative use of digital technology as a medium for art, and has exhibited in established galleries such as Pace Gallery in New York and Saatchi Gallery in London, among other museums in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Recently, teamLab received the Gold Prize for best exhibition at Expo Milan 2015 and also launched its first major show in the United States. Future World in Singapore is teamLab’s first and largest permanent exhibition.
“Collaboration and co-creation are the keywords in teamLab’s work,” said Inoko, via a translator, at the press conference.
“At teamLab, we are all advocates of using digital technology to expand art, and to involve the viewer in defining and changing the artworks. We hope that through digital technology, we can experiment with new visual experiences in our artworks, and remove the boundaries between the artwork and the viewer,” he said.
Harger added: “Together with teamLab, we are building a digital universe where visitors can interact with stunning digital artworks; children can become part of immersive worlds which they can participate in and change by their presence; and families can learn and play together using a combination of physical and digital technology.”
The exhibition took almost one year to come into fruition at the museum, while the concept and creation of Future World took about one and a half years.
As the exhibits will be updated and evolve over time, they give new meaning to the concept of permanent exhibition.
“These are very different artworks from a painting, sculpture, or a traditional installation, which once they are made, are done. Here, the works are in a constant state of flux and the creation process I think is felt within that evolving experience,” said Harger.
ArtScience Museum in Singapore opens from 10am to 7pm daily, including public holidays. For more information, go to www.marinabaysands.com/artsciencemuseum.