The Way of the Sea in the Memory of Topography - Colors of Life

teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

This work begins when The Way of the Sea enters the Memory of Topography, a space of varying elevations. The work ends when the shoal of fish leaves the space and disappears.

The fish are rendered in light as they fly around the space, they sense people and try to avoid them. People in the space are assigned colors and when the fish pass by the they are dyed by that color. 

The work and the canvas that mediates it are separated - the canvas has become transformative. The visual illusion produced by continuous dynamic change causes the viewer to become bodily immersed in the work, and the border between the viewer and artwork dissolves. As the unified world changes viewers may feel a sense of melting into the world, becoming one with it and each other. 

The movement of thousands or tens of thousands of fish is beautiful and mysterious, like a single giant life form. The school of fish has neither a leader nor mutual consensus, but just moves on the simple basis of; if my neighbor moves, then I move, too. However, the biological mechanism that causes hundreds of fish to move at the same time is still enigmatic. It seems there is a universal principle that human beings do not yet understand. The group of trails of light drawn in the space have no meaning as a whole, while being influenced by the existence of people, the lines are drawn by the movement of each fish that seems to obey some kind of primitive rule.

The work is rendered in real time by a computer program, it is neither a prerecorded animation nor imagery on loop.The work as a whole is in constant change; previous states will never be repeated and can never be seen again.