ArtScience Museum’s Future World exhibition, MBS’ Digital Light Canvas show updated

Autonomous Abstraction mimics spontaneous order phenomenon like that of fireflies. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

SINGAPORE – Interdisciplinary Japanese art collective teamLab brings its most extensive refresh of the Future World at the ArtScience Museum since it debuted in 2016.

Three new installations – Aerial Climbing Through A Flock Of Coloured Birds, Autonomous Abstraction: Continuous Phenomena From The Universe To The Self and Sketch Flight – have been added to the permanent show. They were unveiled to visitors on Saturday.

Co-founded in 2001 by Japanese engineer Toshiyuki Inoko, 45, teamLab first came to Singapore in 2013 for the Singapore Biennale. He recalls excitedly in English: “It was my first biennale ever. I am very grateful.”

Through teamLab member and translator Sakurako Naka, 25, Mr Inoko reveals the inspiration and meaning behind the new installations.

1. Autonomous Abstraction: Continuous Phenomena From The Universe To The Self

TeamLab co-founder Toshiyuki Inoko with a new installation, Autonomous Abstraction. ST PHOTO: Desmond Foo

The work mimics the spontaneous order phenomenon, which occurs when a group or system self-organises amid a chaotic environment.

Mr Inoko says: “The easy way to understand this is with fireflies. If you see a bunch of fireflies and they all land on a big tree, you see how they blink on their own, but they begin to synchronise.”

The installation appears as a collection of colourful dots with individual cycles that attempt to synchronise when they are near one another. When touched, they emit a unique sound and scatter, randomising the cycle joining the rhythm of the new dots beside them. Only when left alone do they return to their original grouping.

2. Sketch Flight

Sketch Flight allows visits to draw hawks, planes and butterflies to see the world through a different perspective. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

This installation allows visitors to see through the perspective of a hawk, butterfly or aeroplane. When drawn on a tablet, they offer a new viewpoint. Unlike humans, hawks are able to clearly see two different points at once. Butterflies have compound eyes that allow them to see approximately 340 degrees.

The concept behind this is umwelt, the world that is constructed based on the unique perceptions of each creature.

“The way every living creature perceives the world is different,” Mr Inoko says. “We want this to be an opportunity to understand and enjoy this, to experience this umwelt through this work.”

3. Aerial Climbing Through A Flock Of Coloured Birds

Aerial Climbing Through A Flock Of Coloured Birds encourages visitors to climb and experience the installation through movement. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

When one scales this series of multi-coloured hanging bars, they become brighter and emit a sound that is unique to their colour. Each movement affects other people on the roped structure, creating different experiences for visitors.

Mr Inoko says: “In a three-dimensional artwork space like this, people physically understand the world around them. Through that, I hope for people to regain the ability of physical perception and to evolve that even more.”

The work is part of the Athletics Forest Project, a series of installations by teamLab that encourages and involves three-dimensional movement in order to understand one’s surroundings. These installations are displayed in multiple countries and exhibitions.

Elsewhere, teamLab has also updated its Digital Light Canvas space at Marina Bay Sands to include a new show called Graffiti Nature, which allows visitors to draw a creature on a tablet and watch it come to life.

Graffiti Nature is a new show at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands that depicts different creatures interacting with one another on a screen. PHOTO: TEAMLAB

The creatures can be turned into souvenir items such as pins and T-shirts through at a terminal called Sketch Factory.

Book it/Future World: Where Art Meets Science

Where: ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue
When: Ongoing
Admission: Singapore residents – $18 for adults, $14 for children. Tourists – $21 for adults, $16 for children

Book it/Digital Light Canvas

Where: B2-50 Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue
When: Ongoing
Admission: $10 for the public; $7 for Sands Rewards LifeStyle members; free for children aged two and below

Correction note: An earlier version of this story said that this was the first refresh since 2016. This was not the first refresh but rather the most extensive. We are sorry for the error.

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