Team Lab : Where Tech meets Art at the Singapore Biennale

Team Lab Singapore Biennale 2014 01

What happens when a 300 strong team of information specialist including the likes of programmers (user interface engineers, data base engineers, network engineers, robot engineers, computer vision engineers, software architects), mathematicians, architects, CG animators, web designers, graphic designers, artists, and editors put their minds together for a common purpose?

Well the first thing to my was something that would merge both the world of technology and art together into something that would blow my mind. Not that I have been impressed much before when groups try to do this but with works including the creation of digital stores, interactive hangers, stage performances, designs for cafés, and their clients range from the Louvre Museum, the hosts of furniture exhibition in Milano, and Japanese electronics companies, expectations were high about what this group who call themselves Team Lab can offer.

Team Lab Singapore Biennale 2014 02

What awaits me as I entered a dark room at the Singapore Art Museum was something I would never expect as the geek in me shouted for joy when I finally comprehended the whole entire concept. Here in a dark room was 56 life sized holographic human and humanoid figures that not only have their own algorithm routines but also have the ability to sense when someone is nearby and react accordingly. The best part is that those surrounding the affected hologram will also respond as if they had a mind of their own carefully hidden behind lots of coding which gave each hologram a character of its own.

Team Lab Singapore Biennale 2014 03

As I walked through the room, the different holographic characters would react as through I was walking through a real life Japanese neighbourhood that is celebrating a traditional festival full of dance and song. My favourite out of all was the humanoid frog. Somehow seeing it dance and jump and respond as I stopped in front of it really made my day. Hopefully it was too dark for anyone else to notice the silly smile on my face as I spent a good five minutes observing the frog.

Aptly named “Peace Can Be Realized Even Without Order”, the specially customized dark room with its colourfully holograms is another testimonial to the great works by Team Lab. Even as someone coming from the IT Industry, I would never would have imaged that a team will even dare to think and actually complete such a project that individual codes and algorithms can work together.

Team Lab Singapore Biennale 2014 04

It was definitely an entertaining one hour in that dark room as I took my time to observed each character and how the rest would react. Hopefully the brilliant minds at Team Lab will have more surprises in stored and these will make its way to Singapore.

by Kenneth Wong

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