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Immersive Light Experience in Japan’s Kairakuen Garden Turns 180-Year-Old Garden Into Art

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teamLab, autonomous resonating life and resonating giant cedar forest © teamLab

If you’re looking for a fantastic garden to visit in Japan, be sure to check out Kairakuen Garden! Over 180 years old, this garden is home to a giant 800-year-old tree. And starting from February 1st until March 31st, 2022, it will be turned into an immersive light experience created by the art collective teamLab. The installation is called ‘Digitized Kairakuen Garden 2022’ and explores whether digital technology may be used to transform nature into art without damaging it. It’s a must-see for anyone who loves gardens and/or digital art!

Humans, according to teamLab, cannot perceive time beyond their own lives. ‘To put it another way, our comprehension of the long period is limited. The various natural forms and shapes were established through human-nature interactions. This long duration may also be discovered in the natural world’s forms. We see these shapes as a gateway to exploring the boundlessness of time in our view.’

teamLab, autonomous resonating life, and resonating giant cedar forest © teamLab

The light experience comprises eight distinct pieces of art, each transforming the park’s natural elements into something artistic. For example, illuminated ovoids and trees change color as if they are breathing in autonomous resonating life and resonating big cedar forest. The ovoids tremble and alter color as visitors push, beginning a chain reaction that spreads throughout the rest of the jungle. 

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teamLab, life is continuous light – plum trees © teamLab

The Kairakuen Garden 2022 show corresponds to the Mito plum festival. To commemorate this and the 3,000 plum trees planted in Kairakuen Garden, one of teamLab’s works is an interactive artwork named life is continuous light — plums. The plum trees in Kairakuen Garden have 1,500 equipped with an automated light that shines brightly and fades. The light in the trees changes color as people approach, and a distinct sound is produced. The lights move outward to the surrounding trees one by one in the same way as the ovoids.

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teamLab, ever-blossoming life tree – giant taro cedar © teamLab

An ever-blooming life tree – massive taro cedar, an installation that pays homage to the towering 800-year-old tree with a dazzling display of seasonal flowers projected onto the tree’s enormous trunk – will welcome visitors. Flowers are created, developed, blossom, and then fade away. Flowers go through a cycle of birth, growth, maturity, and eventual dispersal.

teamLab, concrete and abstract – between yin and yang © teamLab
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teamLab, walk, walk, walk – Moso bamboo forest © teamLab

A geometric work of art generates lines that flatten the forest and transform it into a narrow plane when a visitor enters the space. A group of figures wanders the garden’s bamboo forest and illuminates in the form of a brushstroke that loops around a natural spring, which changes according to who is viewing it.

The design is continuously rendered in real-time by a computer program rather than a pre-recorded image that is played back. It’s constantly changing, which means what you see at one time won’t be seen again. Every evening between 18:00 and 20:30 from February to the end of March, the light experience will be displayed in Mito’s Kairakuen garden.

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teamLab digitizes nature for interactive light experience in a Japanese garden
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teamLab, resonating pine, and azalea © teamLab
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teamLab, ever-blossoming life tree – fallen Jiro cedar © teamLab
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teamLab, enso in the natural spring – togyokusen © teamLab