I’ll admit, modern art through traditional media often goes over my head. Whether it’s a giant canvas of monochromatic color or an abstract sculpture made with pieces of the artist’s hair, I’ve always found art hard to understand. However, I find that modern digital art resonates with me much more. While many traditional and modern artists may denounce digital art as not true art, I find the intersection of art and technology truly fascinating. I believe there is room for both. While there is definitely no replacement for traditional media, like painting and sculpture, I also see a whole new realm of possibility when it comes to digital art.
Case in point, the Living Digital Space and Future Parks installation by teamLAB at Pace Art + Technology in Menlo Park. In fact, the Pace Gallery itself is a perfect example of customary artistry coupled with digital technology and art. With locations around the world, Pace shows a wide range of exhibits, from paper works to mixed media art. On the other hand, there’s Pace Art + Technology, where as its name suggest, art with decidedly tech twist is exhibited.
The Living Digital Space and Future Parks installation is only here in Menlo Park until Jul 01, 2016, so I scrambled to make a visit before it moves on. The installation is a result of a group effort by teamLab, a well renowned Japanese art collective famous for their digital art. The exhibit spans of 20,000 feet and showcases 20 digital works. Not to be left out, there’s even an interactive portion for the kids.
Immediately upon entering the Living Digital Space and Future Parks exhibit, you are greeted with a large scale light cube of constantly changing lights. The exhibit is completely submerged in darkness, with only the art and a few occasional spotlights here and there to guide your way. You move from room to room, each with its distinct work of art. What’s fascinating is that the exhibit is very interactive, and where some of the pieces will react to you when you get too close.
There is a giant room where you watch a movie of sorts on multiple screens. Named Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, it’s an experience where it feels like you’re surrounded by butterflies zooming in, over, and around you. I recorded a brief glimpse of it in the video below, but it’s definitely not the same.
The most popular (at least on social media) is the Crystal Universe (the second half of the video), which is a truly immersive experience where you’re surrounded by what looks like string lights. Use your phone to pick a constellation, swipe up, and the “star” will show in the universe. It’s magical.
I also explored the kids’ section, where you can draw sea animals, scan them, and they’ll appear on the wall shortly afterwards. You can interact with them right away— if you get too close, they’ll dart away. It’s amazing how your analogue art immediately becomes digital, and not just a digital piece, but a responsive digital work of art. Truly fascinating!
I won’t talk too much about the exhibit, as it is definitely something you must experience yourself. One note of warning, it does get pretty warm in there with all the lights, so plan for that. Overall, the exhibit is truly a magical experience, like Disneyland Forever Fireworks show for adults!
Get a glimpse of the exhibit below: