Photo: Harvard Crimson
We are producing a new set of videos for the Radcliffe Institute (Harvard’s institute for advanced study) and as part of the process I got to document the installation of What a Loving and Beautiful World at the new Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery in Byerly Hall.
This amazing melding of technology and art is a work of TeamLab, a collective of several hundred Japanese artists, designers, engineers, and programmers. They work in a non-hierarchical mode with the collective assuming authorship of each piece. What a Loving and Beautiful World is one of the best meldings of technology and art I have seen (another example is wonderful microscope imagery on display in the lobby of MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research).
The TeamLab piece involves large interactive projections on all four walls of the darkened gallery. At first, Chinese and Japanese characters float across a minimal landscape. As viewers touch these characters, they transform gracefully into the images they represent. Those images then interact with each other – the bird flies to the tree, the sun makes the flower grow, etc. – to create a unique experience for every viewer.
Toshityuki Inoko, one of the creators, told me through a translator, “When we are living in the city, feeling our modern lives in the city, we don't necessarily understand that all of our actions somehow affect the world, resonate with the world and affect one another. By creating an artwork like this, which is highly interactive and which one has agency to make the world of the space, to mold the environment, we like to think that one is made more aware of one's actions in the world as well. This is a work in which we hope people take more agency in the world.”
What a Loving and Beautiful World will be up at Radcliffe through December 19.
To learn more about Radcliffe, check out Investing in Ideas, a video I made for them in 2013.